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Day of the Dead


heidih
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The Latin American tradition of the Day of the Dead, as I understand it, combines local indigenous traditions meshed with Catholicism and has some interesting food traditions we will explore in the next couple of weeks. I will link past topics in the second post.

Here is what Nancy offers and an introduction to the tradition that the food we will discuss is based on :

On 10/20/2013 at 8:39 PM, Nancy in Pátzcuaro said:

I'm really excited about talking about this. I'm very much a newbie here, but the tradition fascinates me. We are so used to death being a horrible thing, a tragedy, the end, that this tradition seems much healthier. Life, death--it's a continuum, and in this Catholic country it's just one step along the path. I don't have any personal faith, but I know it when I see it, and I see it here every day. Today the taxi driver who took me home with my heavy bags from the mercado crossed himself when he passed the Baslica, and that's not unusual. When I ride the collectivo we pass several little roadside shrines, and almost everyone on the bus crosses themselves and then kisses their thumb.

The Catholic imprint is strong in this country, but it has a Purépecha flavor. (The Purépecha are the local indigenous group, whose notoriety is based on the fact that the Aztecs never conquered them. And then the Spanish came. But they exist in great numbers here, and their culture is very much intact. The estimate is that there are at least 200,000 Purépecha in the area, which is extends mostly to the northwest of us. The Purépecha Sierra is so beautiful in the rainy season, when the corn is young and the fields look like bright green shag carpet. There are many villages where the speech on the street is not Spanish. It's one of the things that attracted us to the region. That and the profusion of fine craft.)

As is usual in most Latin American countries, the Spanish introduced Catholicism to the local spiritual traditions, and in the way that's happened all over the western hemisphre, the blending of the 2 became a completely different thing. Cathollcism is the overriding culture, but every now and then a little bit of the old religion creeps in. Muertos is a good example of that. Souls, in the Catholic culture, are not supposed to return home every year, for instance.

In San Diego a local blogger posted about the bones bread http://mmm-yoso.typepad.com/mmmyoso/2013/10/dia-de-los-muertos-bread-tradition.html

Edited by Smithy
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And a bit more background from Nancy about the start of things:

I was in Plaza Grande yesterday and saw the first of the stalls with sugar (and chocolate) skulls. Between now and Muertos the numbers will increase. Panaderias will have breads, but the most interesting, at least visually, are the sugar skulls. I'll be prowling around taking photos. I still want to know if people eat the skulls...

There will also be large public altars that I'll photograph and post, now that Heidi has shown me how. I won't have access to the altars in people's homes, which will be much more personal and intimate. In the cemeteries there will be large structures covered with marigolds--do they do that in Ecuador?--and families will gather at the graves to light candles and sit around smoky fires all night long. The church will occasionally ring a bell to call in the souls of the dead. That and the smell of marigolds is supposed to guide the dead back home. There is also a special area, not in the cemetery, for those unfortunate souls who have died in foreign (read US) lands and can't get back to their homes.

Pátzcuaro is Muertos Central in México, and people come from all over the country to celebrate it here. We are fortunate to be able to go to a cemetery that's not very commercialized, where we are welcomed among the people attending the graves of their loved ones. I find it very comforting, and I wish we in the US had some similar way to honor and remember those who've passed on.

So now it begins. I will be very interested in the traditions of Ecuador. As far as I know, no one starts eating anything yet.

N.

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I'll weigh in from Ecuador, where the festivities are starting to get underway. I'm in Ambato, which has a huge tradition; the first of the guagas de pan (bread babies) have started to appear in local panaderías and on Monday colada morada will also start to be available. Between now and Difuntos this will only get crazier, and I'm in the fray this year with my own basket of guaguas and jug of colada, so I'll be able to post pictures of the selling atmosphere. Like the skulls in México, the guaguas are perhaps the most picturesque of the food traditions here; I'll try to get photos of as many different versions as I can - they're as unique as the bakers' fingerprints.

Ecuador is another very Catholic country, but our celebration of Difuntos has a distinct Quichua flavour; souls return each year to advise the living and help to celebrate the harvest (Difuntos for Ecuador supplants the original Incan and PreIncan festival celebrating the harvest of Mortiños, black corn, barley, quinua, and the setting of the stonefruit). Our cemeteries will be filled with roses and other wildflowers to call the souls home, and sahumerio and other incenses, particularly palo santo, will be burning as well - the cemeteries actually smell amazing in this season. This year is particularly auspicious for Difuntos in my province - tradition holds that if Mama Tungurahua (the volcano from whom the province takes its name) is awake when the souls are called home, the journey is easier for them. She is most definitely up and about this year, which means the festivities will be even larger - even though very few celebrants will admit it, Mama Tungurahua is still a god; her presence is a blessing to the returning souls. In Tungurahua at least, along with the church bells people will let off firecrackers to guide the souls home. And like Nancy has noted in México, there is an area of each cemetery here as well for those who wish to leave offerings and communicate with those souls who are not buried there. This year will be the first where I can leave a pair of guaguas and clay cups of colada, for my grandparents who passed on earlier this year.

Oddly enough, the guaguas and colada (which are a holdover from the original harvest festival - they're a way of sharing the harvest with the ancestors) are also a good example of how the Catholic culture absorbed the indigenous traditions. Now they also stand for a sacrament for the dead; the guaguas of November 2 are consecrated in a huge mass as the body of Christ, and the colada as the blood of Christ. I find it more than a little bit creepy that traditional guagas are stuffed with guava paste, and therefore actually bleed a little when you bite them.... This doesn't stop me from participating, though.

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This will be wonderful, I'm sure. I look forward to learning about the ways other cultures honor and incorporate the memories of the people gone ahead. This summer my sister and I participated in a Japanese ceremony honoring the spirits of our departed family members; that ceremony was in August. I'm more attuned to the idea of ceremonies in tune with All Souls' Day, and with All Hallows Eve. It feels like the turn of a new year to me,

Panaderia Canadiense, you refer to "the setting of the stone fruits" in connection with this time. To me that would signify the blossom time - as in, spring in the Central Valley of California. What does your phrase mean?

Also (another question for PC): what are the coladas to which you refer?

Nancy in Mexico: so glad to see you're stepping forward! I look forward to hearing your take on the Mexican aspects.

Finally: my "like" button has disappeared, too! Quick...where's the "unlike" button? :wink:

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Panaderia Canadiense, you refer to "the setting of the stone fruits" in connection with this time. To me that would signify the blossom time - as in, spring in the Central Valley of California. What does your phrase mean?

Also (another question for PC): what are the coladas to which you refer?

It's the end of the blossom period, when the small fruits are visible on the trees. If there are lots of little fruits, we celebrate because the harvest will be good that year.

Colada Morada, which I will get into more depth on a bit later as Difuntos progresses, is a multiple-fruit drink/jam/fruity liquid thickened with blue corn flour. It's similar in character to Mexican atole drinks, but colada is to atole as Shakespeare is to Pinter....

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Exciting topic, specially for those of us learning to cook Mexican and Latin American dishes. Thanks so much.

I'm wondering if we might ask the posters to add to the obviously foreign words and phrases (e.g. colada morada, Prelncan, sahumerio, palo santo, etc) a word of explanation in English of those words and phrases. I know, I know, I can Google them, but I can always ask...

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Darienne

 

learn, learn, learn...

 

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Darienne: thanks for pointing this out - I spend so much time speaking Ecuadorian Spanish that it's sometimes good to remember that most people don't. Hence, a small glossary for my non-English terms up to now.

Colada Morada: a multiple-fruit drink, always containing Mortiños, thickened with blue corn flour. Only available around Día de los Difuntos, which coincides with the (very short) harvest season of Mortiños. About this, more later. Those curious about the recipe can take a look at my first foodblog, which details the process. I'll be recapping Colada here later today, once I've had a moment to download my camera.

Mortiño: the fruit of Vaccinium floribundum, the Ecuadorian páramo blueberry. These plants are not cultivated anywhere; they're wild harvested and the location of the best patches is jealously guarded by the families who harvest them.

Guagua de Pan: literally "bread baby" - guagua, pronounced "wah-wah" is Quechua for baby.

PreIncan (also Pre-Incan): the cultures before the Incan invasion. In my area, that's the Hambatu, Izamba, Huachi, Quisapincha and Atocha peoples; their traditions were largely absorbed by the Inca (whose descendants are the modern day Quechua culture). Ambato takes its name from the Hambatu (frog) people; the community I live in takes its name from the Huachi, and the other major sectors of the city are Izamba, Quisapincha, and Atocha.

Sahumerio: a type of incense based on resins and fragrant woods, generally with 7 components (I can't recall them offhand, but it definitely includes frankincense, myrrh, benzoin, and palo santo). It's the typical incense of the churches, but on special occasions - particularly Semana Santa (Easter), Difuntos, and Christmas, it also becomes available to the public. The word "sahumerio" comes from the verb that means "to fumigate."

Palo Santo: the wood of Bursera graveolens, a fragrant tree native to Ecuador that's in the same family as frankincense and myrrh. Palo santo literally means "holy stick" and it's either used on its own or as a component of ritual incenses.

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Thank you for that glossary. It would be nice to "pin" it to the top of the topic (Heidi?) but barrin that, I'll just remember to keep referring back to it.

Guagua = "wahwah" = baby: onomatopoeia, perhaps?

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"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Well, while I'm accumulating a gallery of Guaguas de Pan (and yes, Smithy, a lot of Quichua words are onomatopoeic!), let's talk Colada Morada.

This is a decidedly heavy drink made up from anything between 5 and 9 fruits (odd numbers are considered more auspicious than even ones, for reasons nobody has been able to explain to me yet), herbs, spices, dark panela, and blue or black corn flour. It is a pre-Incan tradition in Ecuador that has survived to modern times, and incorporates at least two fruits which are only found here - the Mortiño, a slightly bitter highland blueberry, and the Babaco, a relative of the papaya. Colada is the Ecuadorian term for any grain drink where the grains, usually in flour form, are allowed to hydrate overnight in the liquid so as to form a colloid; Morada literally means "bruised" or "purple".

I was taught the recipe I use by a grandmother from Cuenca (a city known for the most complex recipe), who included a few interesting superstitions with the lesson. For instance, Fidelina taught me that there are two kinds of strawberries: fresa and frutilla. Fresa are the big, Hollywood-looking berries that are normally sold in the mercados for fruit salads and garnish. Frutilla are closer to wild strawberries - tiny, not necessarily pretty, but absolutely bursting with flavour. Fresas have no soul, according to Fidelina, so they've also got no place in Colada - berries with no soul won't make a good transition to the other side for your ancestors. She had similar things to say about substituting imported blueberries from Chile for the wild-harvested Mortiños from our own páramos - you can do it, but you're cheating your ancestors if you do.

Colada-Fruits.jpg

My recipe calls for the maximum number of fruits advisable for maximum flavour. Picture above are the ones I use: white pineapple, naranjilla, red guava, maracuyá, babaco, frutilla, mortiño, and mora. This is an even number, but the capulí cherries that make up the total to nine are not quite ready to pick. They will be included in my later batches of the drink.

WhitePineapple.jpg

A note about pineapples: Fidelina holds that there should be no substitute for the white pineapple in Colada Morada - it is slightly sweeter and a bit tangier than gold, and balances the mixture of flavours better.

Mortinos.jpg

These are mortiños. As you can see, they're quite a bit smaller than North American blueberries; they're also much much more concentrated in flavour and slightly more bitter. This year was a good season for them (meaning that it was nasty cold and rainy for at least 6 months up in the páramo) - they're plump and quite juicy, and larger than they could be....

Colada-herbwater.jpg

Colada-sugarandspices.jpg

Colada-precook.jpg

All of that gets juiced in the blender with herb water, and strained into a big stockpot. Then it's boiled until the foam dissipates and the panela is fully dissolved, the spices are strained out (or scooped, your preference), and about a pound of blue cornflour per gallon is mixed in - I use my immersion blender to keep it lump-free. Then the colada cooks for about another hour over low heat until the cornflour starts to thicken it, and is allowed to rest overnight.

Colada-finished.jpg

Guaguas-packed.jpg

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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I love those comments: the oversized pretty but flavorless strawberries have no soul, and if you're using imported blueberries you're cheating your ancestors. Good for Fidelina.

That colada looks like quite a drink. I love the color. What's in the plastic wrap in the next photo down? Sorry if you said and I missed it.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Smithy - those are Guaguas de Pan of my own design, in their own little cellophane bags to keep the ash off. They're honey whole wheat bread stuffed with chocolate-walnut goo; I'll also be making pumpernickel with sweet peanut butter filling, and challah with cinnamon-raisin babka filing.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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Well, while I'm accumulating a gallery of Guaguas de Pan (and yes, Smithy, a lot of Quichua words are onomatopoeic!), let's talk Colada Morada.

This is a decidedly heavy drink made up from anything between 5 and 9 fruits (odd numbers are considered more auspicious than even ones, for reasons nobody has been able to explain to me yet), herbs, spices, dark panela, and blue or black corn flour. It is a pre-Incan tradition in Ecuador that has survived to modern times, and incorporates at least two fruits which are only found here - the Mortiño, a slightly bitter highland blueberry, and the Babaco, a relative of the papaya. Colada is the Ecuadorian term for any grain drink where the grains, usually in flour form, are allowed to hydrate overnight in the liquid so as to form a colloid; Morada literally means "bruised" or "purple".

I was taught the recipe I use by a grandmother from Cuenca (a city known for the most complex recipe), who included a few interesting superstitions with the lesson. For instance, Fidelina taught me that there are two kinds of strawberries: fresa and frutilla. Fresa are the big, Hollywood-looking berries that are normally sold in the mercados for fruit salads and garnish. Frutilla are closer to wild strawberries - tiny, not necessarily pretty, but absolutely bursting with flavour. Fresas have no soul, according to Fidelina, so they've also got no place in Colada - berries with no soul won't make a good transition to the other side for your ancestors. She had similar things to say about substituting imported blueberries from Chile for the wild-harvested Mortiños from our own páramos - you can do it, but you're cheating your ancestors if you do.

attachicon.gifColada-Fruits.jpg

My recipe calls for the maximum number of fruits advisable for maximum flavour. Picture above are the ones I use: white pineapple, naranjilla, red guava, maracuyá, babaco, frutilla, mortiño, and mora. This is an even number, but the capulí cherries that make up the total to nine are not quite ready to pick. They will be included in my later batches of the drink.

attachicon.gifWhitePineapple.jpg

A note about pineapples: Fidelina holds that there should be no substitute for the white pineapple in Colada Morada - it is slightly sweeter and a bit tangier than gold, and balances the mixture of flavours better.

attachicon.gifMortinos.jpg

These are mortiños. As you can see, they're quite a bit smaller than North American blueberries; they're also much much more concentrated in flavour and slightly more bitter. This year was a good season for them (meaning that it was nasty cold and rainy for at least 6 months up in the páramo) - they're plump and quite juicy, and larger than they could be....

attachicon.gifColada-herbwater.jpg

attachicon.gifColada-sugarandspices.jpg

attachicon.gifColada-precook.jpg

All of that gets juiced in the blender with herb water, and strained into a big stockpot. Then it's boiled until the foam dissipates and the panela is fully dissolved, the spices are strained out (or scooped, your preference), and about a pound of blue cornflour per gallon is mixed in - I use my immersion blender to keep it lump-free. Then the colada cooks for about another hour over low heat until the cornflour starts to thicken it, and is allowed to rest overnight.

attachicon.gifColada-finished.jpg

attachicon.gifGuaguas-packed.jpg

....Fascinating. Thank you.

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And I realize that I said "herb water and spices" and then didn't fill you in on what all that entails. The herb water is essentially a way of introducing extra flavour without extra bulk, and it's used to help liquify the fruits in the blender. An herb bundle for Colada Morada typically consists of:

Arrayan: a type of fragrant native myrtle; it has a pleasantly resinous and citrus flavour and is astringent without being too drying. Sort of like sweeter rosemary with overtones of incense.

Toronjil: I can never remember if this is lemon balm or lemon verbena! Melissa tripartita, I think....

Lemon leaves: fairly self-explanatory; they generally come with twigs attached.

Sanguarachi: Red amaranth. For both the bright red colour and the mild spinachy flavour.

Lemongrass: if you're using naranjilla fruit, add lemongrass.

The spices, on the other hand, go in the pot and provide a bass note to the proceedings.

Ishpingo: the bracts of the flowers from the Ecuadorian amazon cinnamon tree. They're like smokey cinnamon with a hint of clove.

Cinnamon bark: also from the Ecuadorian amazon cinnamon tree. And the leaves, if you can get your hands on 'em. I couldn't.

Cloves, star anise, and whole allspices round out the spices.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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This is lovely stuff. What's the charge for shipping some of those guaguas to Minnesota? :wub:

I've gone back through your glossary to no avail, and haven't gone to Google with regard to ingredients. (1) Which are the naranjillas? That name tells me they should be orange, or look like oranges somehow. I've struck out. (2) Something there looks a lot like persimmons. Are they? By what name are they known there?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Smithy - the persimmon-looking things are the Naranjillas, which are a fruit in the tomato family (Solanum quitoense to be precise) that's native to Ecuador and southern Colombia. Despite the name (which means little oranges), they have little to do with citrus of any kind besides being smallish and orange in skin colour - they're greenish and quite seedy inside, and the flavour is bittersweet, slightly sour, aromatic, and just slightly cape gooseberry-ish (it is a very difficult to describe flavour, but given a bit of sugar to balance the bitterness they're extraordinarily tasty, and Naranjilla is in fact one of the most popular juice flavours in Ecuador.)

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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I assume the photos you provided of making the colada morada were from this year. When do people start drinking this? Is it rather like a Tom and Jerry, or possibly eggnog, in the USA where people start drinking it whenever the holiday spirit moves them? Or is it more of a ritual drink that is consumed only during the festival days? If the latter, how long does this drink keep? You're making it well in advance.

Thanks for the information about the naranjilla. (Now my mind is moving along tomatillo lines.) I appreciate greatly your including botanical names for your ingredients along with uses, tastes, and so forth.

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Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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People start drinking Colada Morada around mid-October, kind of like eggnog in the US or Canada. However, the peak of consumption comes between the 31st of October and the 2nd of November, which is the actual holy-day period (all saints' eve, all saints, and all souls). The batch made upthread was consumed within 24 hours of making it - starting in the third week of October, I sell Colada and Guaguas as part of my office coffee-break service. I've gone through about 6 gallons of it this week alone (along with about a hundred bread babies), and the demand will only rise from here.

It actually holds fairly well - it can be made up to 3-4 days in advance without flavour loss, and I actually can it (well, put it up into glass jars) for when I get a hankering in June and there are no fresh mortiños in the market or frozen ones in my freezer.

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Elizabeth Campbell, baking 10,000 feet up at 1° South latitude.

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  • 2 weeks later...

I keep checking back for more photos, comments on the celebrations, comparisons of the traditions in Mexico and Ecuador....and we've passed through the dark of the moon and celebrated our ancestors, with no further posts that I can see. Did I miss some announcement?

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)
"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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Well, Muertos 2013 is over, the stands selling sugar skulls buzzing with opportunistic bees are gone from Plaza Grande, and the displays of marigolds that were beginning to show their age have been removed. Muertos is a very big deal, and the town fills up completely during the days beforehand.

I’m sorry this is so long, and I also apologize for the lack of photos. We are having a camera emergency, but I will try to post photos soon. For a while we were also having a computer emergency, but that has been resolved. Ain’t technology grand?

Pan de Muertos, the iconic food of the season, is also one of the most significant. It’s a basic puffy egg bread gently flavored with orange and/or anise seed, and it comes in 2 basic shapes. One represents a child with folded arms, as if in the coffin, and the other is a large round loaf with “bone” shapes on top. Both are dusted with sugar. Champurrado is a chocolate atole, sometimes with added milk, that goes nicely with pan de Muertos. Dip bread into champurrado, eat, repeat.

Candied camote (sweet potatoes) and ponche (fruit punch) are also popular at this time of year, though they’re not exclusive to Muertos. A specialty unique (I believe) to the state of Michoacán is corundas, which are a sort of blind tamale wrapped in corn leaves (not husks) and steamed. The masa is beaten, usually by hand by a strong Mexican woman, until fluffy and very light, and then it’s patted into a 3-dimensional pyramid and wrapped in the long strappy leaves. Many years ago when we first started coming to Michoacán I tried to learn how to form and wrap them, with absolutely no success. The women standing around the big tub of masa and a pile of corn leaves gave me a very hard time, and by the time I gave up we were all laughing. Like making tortillas, it’s something you learn as soon as you can stand up, and clearly I started too late. But again this is something that’s eaten all year, not exclusively at Muertos. An unwrapped corunda doused in green salsa with a big dollop of crema is a beautiful thing, though a friend of ours calls them “gut bombs.”

On the night of Muertos (November 1) we attended an excellent performance of Verdi’s Requiem in the Basilica, performed by the State Symphony and a double choir, before going home to put on warm clothes to head out to the Arócutin cemetery.

At the cemetery there were large pots of café de olla, which we would call “cowboy coffee,” flavored with generous applications of cinnamon and piloncillo (unrefined sugar), and a big galvanized tub of roasted winter squash. The squash was being roasted over a fire in the middle of the street by a group of jolly men who had not passed up the opportunity to indulge in beer or some warming beverages (i.e., tequila and mezcal). By 3:30am when we left they were feeling no pain. Given the chill of the early morning the coffee tasted awfully good. Arócutin is a very small village, perhaps 100 families, on the west side of Lake Pátzcuaro near Erongarícuaro, for those who might want to locate it on a map.

The churchyard crowded with mounded graves, illuminated by thousands of tall white candles and smoky fires, with multi-generational families on chairs and stools at the gravesites, the rich gold color of the marigolds and candle flames, and the bell tolling in the background is a total sensory experience, a landscape of black and gold. In front of the small church is a tall frame, almost as tall as the church's bell tower, covered with marigolds. The first time I went to this particular cemetery I gasped as I walked through the entry gate because it was so beautiful. The smell of candle wax is overwhelming, almost smothering the scent of marigolds.

If the dead choose to return to visit their loved ones they certainly have enough help finding their way home. All flowers are chosen for their intense fragrance or bright color, so you have the customary marigolds combined with lilies, roses and geranium plants for fragrance, and baby’s breath and glads for color and symbolism. The church bell tolls every 10 minutes or so to further guide the dead. There is a separate altar next to the church for those souls who had the misfortune to be buried elsewhere. Here and there are untended graves, with no one left to decorate them.

The effect is quite different in the daytime, although equally affecting. In the light you can see the details of decoration and read the names on the simple grave markers. While the graves at Arócutin are traditionally decorated with flowers and candles, other cemeteries combine them with “coronas,” round artificial wreaths on wood or metal stands. The next day many of the candles are still burning but most are only puddles of wax on the ground.

An entire street next to the Basilica is devoted to flowers, and at the beginning of the week trucks stuffed with marigolds, dark red coxcombs, glads of every color (though white is preferred for children’s graves), big-headed mums, and baby’s breath start arriving. People buy the long-stemmed marigolds and either cut off the large heads to attach to bamboo frames for the cemetery and their home altars, or put them in vases or 1-gallon cans to place around the graves. By the day before Muertos the street is almost impassable between the mounds of flowers and the pedestrians buying them.

By the way, as I believe I’ve mentioned before, here it’s called Noche de Muertos (Night of the Dead) rather than Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) as it’s celebrated in the rest of the Spanish-speaking world. It turns out that some communities on the lake attend the graves during the daytime while others sit through the night. My feeling is that the night event is more traditional, while the “modern” villages celebrate in the daytime.

Again, I apologize for the length of this report and the lack of photos. Muertos is not really about food; only pan de Muertos is the one food that appears exclusively at this time. But I hope I’ve given you a taste of how Muertos is celebrated in the Pátzcuaro region.

I’m eager to hear about Muertos in Ecuador, and especially why it’s called Difuntos.

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Formerly "Nancy in CO"

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Thanks Nancy - I felt for a moment like I was present at the celebration. I am now obsessing about roasting some winter squash over my fire pit! As soon as you described the corundas my mind jumped to these Asian leaf wrapped treasures http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zongzi

For the corundas -I enjoyed this video

Good cooking and eating is truly the universal language ;) (well and holding babies)

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