The Day of the Dead
Dia de los Muertos
The Day of the Dead is celebrated throughout Mexico on November 1 (All Saints Day) and the 2nd (All Souls Day) in conjunction with the Catholic holidays. The essence of the holiday is to honor those that have gone before us when the veil between the Worlds is temporarily lifted (similar to the Wiccan holiday of Samhain celebrated on October 31st).
Private altars are prepared for deceased family member and/or friends. All the things they loved in life are incorporated into these altars; food, drink, flowers (usually marigolds) and spirits (plenty of spirits of all kinds). Candles luminate the altars, and photos of the person being honored are displayed.
The most famous artist associated with this genre was JosÃ© Guadalupe Posada (1852-1913) whose satirical broadsheets took their name from the word for skeleton or skull, Calavera. They were greatly admired as a form of folk art by many left-wing artists in particular, including the Russian film director Sergei Eisenstein, who was working in Mexico in 1931-32.
Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian in New York - Celebrate Today till 4PM (located at 1 Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan)
Saturday October 27th 10:00 am - 5:00 pm
The Bread of the Dead ~ Grateful Bread - Pan de Muerto
This bread goes way back to the times of human sacrifices when the Mayans used to offer the beating heart to the gods to go in a pot with Amaranto, an Andean cereal rich in nutrients. The Spaniards horrified by this tradition created a heart made of wheat and sugar, which was painted with red simulating the blood. Others believe the bread tradition came from the foods the dead were buried with, which was a common practice in Mesoamerica.
Bread of the Dead
1 package granulated yeast
4 1/2 cups flour
6 egg yolks
3/4 cup sugar
200 grams butter
1/4 cup orange blossom water
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Icing and sprinkles
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Mix in 1/2 cup flour. Leave mixture in a warm place until it doubles in size.
Sift together salt, sugar, cinnamon and flour.
Add the remaining ingredients, but only half the butter.
Add the yeast dough and mix until it forms thick dough but not hard.
Tip: Make sure dough doesn't stick to the table before placing it in a large greased bowl. Cover it.
Let dough rise until it doubles in size. Pound it again, and add the rest of the butter.
Divide the dough into three equal parts. Use two for the loaves and one to decorate the loaves.
Let loaves double in size.
Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned.
Sprinkle with sugar while warm.
After the loaves have cooled, decorate with icing and other pastry confections to create skulls, bones or names of the deceased.
Day of the Dead bread is one important tradition that joins our families in love and appreciation for the ones gone. I love making or simply buying a Day of the Dead bread to share with our family, children learn our Hispanic culture by practicing our traditions.
- 1 package granulated yeast
- 4 1/2 cups flour
- 6 eggs
- 6 egg yolks
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 200 grams butter
- 1/4 cup orange blossom water
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- Icing and sprinkles
- Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Mix in 1/2 cup flour. Leave mixture in a warm place until it doubles in size.
- Sift together salt, sugar, cinnamon and flour.
- Add the remaining ingredients, but only half the butter.
- Add the yeast dough and mix until it forms thick dough but not hard.
- Tip: Make sure dough doesn't stick to the table before placing it in a large greased bowl. Cover it.
- Let dough rise until it doubles in size. Pound it again, and add the rest of the butter.
- Divide the dough into three equal parts. Use two for the loaves and one to decorate the loaves.
- Let loaves double in size.
- Bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until nicely browned.
- Sprinkle with sugar while warm.
- After the loaves have cooled, decorate with icing and other pastry confections to create skulls, bones or names of the deceased.
- Day of the Dead bread is one important tradition that joins our families in love and appreciation for the ones gone. I love making or simply buying a Day of the Dead bread to share with our family, children learn our Hispanic culture by practicing our traditions.
More Pan de Muerto Recipes
- Pan de Muertos (Mexican Bread of the Dead)
Bread of the Dead by Lola "This is a version of the bread that is made for the November 2 celebration known as the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) in Mexico. You can also mold the bread into different shapes like angels and animals."
- Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead)
Another Bread of the Dead recipe from the web page AZCentral an Arizona site.
Sugar Skulls - Sugar Skull & Icing Recipes
If you click the photo above it will take you to a really cool site where they give detailed instructions on how to make sugar skulls, you can also go to Martha Stewart's site and do a Sugar Skulls "Search" on her site. I bought a few Sugar Skull Molds from the site the photo / link takes you too (it is also included in my link list).
Meringue Powder Brand
Do not use meringue powder from hobby shops or cake supply shops as it's usually diluted and cut way too much for use with heavy granulated sugar. It's ok for icing, just it will not hold together sugar skulls! We get calls daily from teachers & folks who's sugar skulls are "sandy" and not sticking together and have a big mess on their hands and don't have enough time to get new meringue powder and redo the project. Start right from the beginning! The only reliable meringue powder is the one we sell or that of Sur La Table gourmet kitchen shop/ catalog Sur La Table Meringue Powder .
Sugar Skull Recipe
Mix together well in large bowl:
1 teaspoon Meringue Powder for every cup of granulated sugar used.
Step 1: Mix dry ingredients well.
Step 2: Sprinkle sugar mixture with 1 teaspoon water per cup of sugar used.
Variation: Colored Skulls
Most people prefer white skulls the first time they make them, but if you'd like colored sugar skulls, add paste food coloring TO THE WATER. For a 5 pound bag of sugar, use 1/4 cup meringue powder and 10 teaspoons of water. Yield 5 large skulls or 20 medium skulls or 100 mini skulls or any combination.
For a 10 pound bag of sugar, use 1/2 cup meringue powder and 7 Tablespoons water. Yield 10 large skulls or 40 medium skulls or 200 mini skulls or any combination.
Meringue Powder is a MUST and cannot be omitted. It is difficult to find, but may be ordered in 4 oz, 8 oz or 1 pound packages on our sugar skull molds and supplies page. Meringue powder is what makes the sugar and the icing hard. Its main ingredient is powdered dry egg whites & starch, but it also includes vegetable gum, cream of tarter, calcium lactate, malic acid & sodium aluminum sulfate. It's totally edible.
Powdered sugar for Royal Icing
1 pound box = 3 1/2 cups
2 pound bag = 7 cups (do not sift Powdered Sugar)
Measurement: 3 teaspoons make a Tablespoon: 4 Tablespoons make 1/4 cup. But on this website, 7 Tablespoons (21 teaspoons) of Meringue Powder = 1/2 cup! (Please don't email me on this!) Sugar Skull making is not an exact science... we like easy measurements! Especially when measuring with kids.
Day of the Dead Books
Links To The Day Of The Dead
- The Day of the Dead on Wikipedia
DÃa de los Muertos) is a Mexican holiday. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have died. It is particularly celebrated in Mexico, where it attains the quality of a National
- Sugar Skulls
- Day of the Dead Book
Day of the Dead Book.
- British Museum Celebrates The Day of the Dead
The celebration of the festivals of All Saints and All Souls at the beginning of November evolved in Mexico into a joyful and ironic commemoration of the dead who experience a brief return to the pleasures of their former existence. Death is personif
- Hispanic Culture Online
Very good page on how the Day of the Dead is celebrated and the meaning of the holiday.
- JosÃ© Guadalupe Posada
Jose Guadalupe Posada: (1852-1913) was a Mexican cartoonist illustrator and artist whose work has influenced many Latin American artists and cartoonists because of its satirical acuteness and political engagement.
- Mexican Sugar Skulls
This site is a wealth of information for "All Things DIA DE LOS MUERTOS", truly one of my favorites and they also have a FaceBook Page.
- Flickr: The Day Of The Dead
Day of the Dead Group on Flickr.
- Dia de los Muertos :: Official San Antonio Visitor Information: VisitSanAntonio.com
From museums to art galleries, San Antonio offers countless ways to participate in this colorful Mexican custom.
- SA Calaveras
Centro Cultural Aztlan. Recently Added Events""Calavera Stroll"" submitted by Teresa Koslow"Day of the Dead Ghost Tour" submitted by Lauren "Dia de los Muertos Mask making workshop and Procession" submitted by J
- DÃa de los Muertos Holiday Recipes and Traditions | Mexico | What's4Eats
El DÃa de los Muertos, or the Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday that falls on November 1st and 2nd and coincides with the Catholic All Saints Day and All Souls Day. The celebration may be Christian on the surface, but ts origins lie in ancient Z
- Mexico Celebrates Life | Day of the Dead in Mexico
Day of the Dead Books, Poems, Sugar Skulls, Altars...
- Dia de los Muertos: Day of the Dead - ABC News
If all goes as planned, souls of deceased loved ones will be welcomed home this evening, at least in Mexico, where friends and family have been preparing for their arrival for weeks. Today is Day 2 of Dia de los Muertos, the day when adult souls are
- A Mexican Feast for Dia De Los Muertos - Saveur.com
D�a de los Muertos, celebrated throughout Mexico on November 1st and 2nd, is a time to honor family members and loved ones who have passed by decorating their grave sites with offerings of candles, marigolds, and perhaps most important, the favorite
- Day Of The Dead in Mexico Articles, Pictures and Recipes
Day of the Dead: Living, Travel, Cuisine, History, Culture & Arts, Destinations
- Learn more: the Day of the DeadLuria Library | Luria Library
Want to know more about the Day of the Dead/Dia de los Muertos? The library collection includes several books and images you can access online. Learn more.
- Day of the 40,000 Dead by Alma Guillermoprieto
A recent article from The New York Times Book Review.
- The Ghostly Grandeur Of A Desert Graveyard In El Paso : NPR
Some 60,000 people have been buried in El Paso's Concordia Cemetery. The Texas graveyard is the final home to gunslingers, Mormon pioneers, Chinese immigrants, Mexican revolutionaries and Civil War veterans. Its desert setting is a venue for a popula
- Sugar Skulls with LL Cool J - Martha Stewart Holidays
Watch Marthastewart's Sugar Skulls with LL Cool J Video. Get do-it-yourself closet, kitchen, and cabinet organization ideas, plus home decorating and gardening tips.
- 29 September 2012 MexicanSugarSkull.com News
Get all your Dia de Los Muertos sugar skull making supplies from the original creator of the sugar skull molds ~ 13 beautiful molds, the best Meringue powder, colored foils, paste colors and more!
DÃa de los Muertos on eBay - The Day of the Dead on eBay
I just love this holiday on so many levels. Now there's a Category on eBay dedicated to Day of the Dead too. How cool is that?
Cool Day of the Dead Stuff
During the three-day period, families usually clean and decorate graves; most visit the cemeteries where their loved ones are buried and decorate their graves with ofrendas (offerings), which often include orange mexican marigolds (Tagetes erecta) called cempasÃºchitl (originally named cempoalxochitl, Nahuatl for "twenty flowers"). In modern Mexico, this name is sometimes replaced with the term Flor de Muerto ("Flower of the Dead"). These flowers are thought to attract souls of the dead to the offerings. The photo is from a ofrenda in a private home in LA.
Death The Trip of a Lifetime by Charles Kuralt - Dia de los Muertos
High Tech Funeral Options in Osaka, Japan. This was the guy who did the documentary Charles Kuralt, he was the first CBS News Sunday Morning anchor most widely known for his long career with CBS, first for his "On the Road" segments on The CBS Evening News with Walter Cronkite.
Death The Trip of a Lifetime
At Any Given Time Death Is About A 1/2 A Foot Away
It's a shame this Charles Kuralt documentary hasn't been broadcasted again or made available on DVD; it was one of my staples I'd roll out to view on VHS (talk about dead). If you ever get a chance to see it, they have a wonderful segment on The Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico as celebrated in cemeteries by the natives. He goes to a village off the beaten path to observe how the holiday is celebrated in a non-commercial, dignified way; away from tourists who have invaded the privacy of many trying to commune with their relatives who have passed on.
Huge Day of the Dead Display - Â© Colin Young-Wolff 2012
photo by Â© Colin Young-Wolff 2012
I always loved this celebration of those that have gone before us; I always set an empty place at the table as a symbolic gesture as well as an alter. If a family member or friend has passed within the year, they're made the guest of honor; and I am sure to include a food, drink and/or flower they enjoyed in life.