Day of the dead or Día de los Muertos as it is otherwise known in Mexico doesn’t really sound like a day you would want to celebrate does it? But in Mexico, this is an important religious festival celebrated on November 1st – 2nd. It is a time for families and friends to gather to remember the deceased and celebrate the continuity of life, hence the colourful skulls. Traditionally, the first day is to remember the children, Dia de los Santos Inocentes, followed by Dia de los Muertos for remembering the dead. A range of gifts are given from trinkets to toys to tequila. It is believed that during this time the gates to the afterworld swing open and the prayers and thoughts of the living move freely into the afterworld. Likewise the deceased can travel to the living world and ‘collect’ these gifts. It is a beautiful gesture and ceremony with plenty of vibrant colours, gold and candles shrouded around an altar.
Families celebrate in many ways, one of which is by baking the Pan de Muerto or the Bread of the Dead. Don’t be put off by the name though. This is a delicious bread made from flour, eggs, butter, sugar, yeast and infused with the citrus flavours of lime and orange. Add a cup of hot chocolate mixed with a bit of cinnamon and you’ve got the perfect treat for the November chills.