Dia de los Muertos is fast approaching, if you haven't figured out what you're making or need a little inspiration, look no further. Here's everything I featured this month that would be perfect to make to celebrate and honor the dead.
Pan de Muertos
Chicken Mole Enchiladas (Enmoladas)
Atole de Arroz
Pumpkin in Syrup
Also I wanted to share my take on a traditional altar that I created for my dog Jack. Making altars for dogs may differ from the norm, but he was such a big part of our family it only seemed fitting to honor him this year.
I draped the table (and several boxes) in a colorful throw and set out bouquets of paper flowers, candles, and sugar skulls. It is believed that the dead need nourishment after their long journey home so food and water are always placed on the altar. I have the traditional pan de muertos and tamales, I also set out marranitos which he always begged for, and of course a bowl of kibble and his water dish.
The aroma from the flowers and incense (usually copal) is said to be consumed or used by the spirits. They also consume the essence of the food, it is later eaten by the family or given away even though some believe it has no nutritional value.
I have also brought out a few of Jack's things, his collar and tag and a favorite toy we called the "skunk ape".
Just putting this all together was a great experience and a wonderful way to celebrate and remember Jack's life. I love the Dia de los Muertos tradition in that it is a positive view of death, it is not feared or viewed as the end of life. The dead are honored and celebrated, and it is a time for families to come together to tell stories and remember the happy times they shared with their departed relatives.
For more information on Dia de los Muertos and its traditions, food, and practice see the links below:
List of Books for further reading
Palomar College Site for the Dead