One of my favorite celebrations is the Death’s Day. My grandmother used to bring together her grandchildren to prepare the death’s altar every year. It was really nice, I and my cousins went to the market to buy sugar skulls, “catrinas” (which is the death wearing an elegant black dress and hat), death’s bread, flowers, etc. to decorate the altar. The best part was to prepare the favorites dishes of my Great-grandfather and of course it could not miss a cup of “ponche de granada” (a sweet alcoholic beverage made with pomegranate and Tequila) made by my uncle.
Fortunately, even outside México we can find some traditional day of the death offers in some Mexican houses and in the Embassies.
Whereas in some cultures the death is feared and the idea of encounter a ghost in this world is creepy, for us Mexican is a happy day. We are not afraid of the Death; even we make jokes about her, or write some poems called “calaveritas” in which we describe our encounter with the “catrina” or Death. In this day we are so happy because our beloved ones who passed the way come to visit us.
The belief is that the night of November 1st the spirits of the deceased has the permission to visit their loved ones. As good hosts, we prepare a welcome party to them; we offer them their favorite drinks and dishes and decorate their altar with cempasúchil flowers and sugar skulls. They can eat by smelling the food we offer them.
For us it is a day of happiness and delight; it is a gift to have the opportunity to meet our beloved deceased once a year. In some places in México, people not only make them an altar, but also they went to the cemetery to have dinner with them; all the family gathered eat, talk and laugh in the beloved’s tombs.
Although every family offers different dishes in their altar, according with the taste of the deceased, there is some typical food for the day, as death’s bread or calabaza en tacha.
México is full of bakeries that sell delicious bread, and amazing death’s bread, so I used just to go into one of them and had my death’s bread. Unfortunately, this year is not so easy just to buy one, but I was not willing to give up, so I made my own death’s bread!
You can also try yours.