What are some foods eaten on day of the dead?!

Question: What are some foods eaten on day of the dead?

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Bread of the Dead (Pan de Muerto)
Pan de Muerto (Bread of the Dead) is a soft, Mexican sweet bread that is baked for the traditional holiday called "The Day of the Dead" (El Dia de los Muertos in Spanish). This popular holiday is celebrated mainly by people of Mexican heritage in many parts of the world. The celebration occurs on November 1st and 2nd in conjunction with the Catholic holy days of All Saint's Day and All Soul's Day.

Traditional Celebrations of the Day of the Dead
The basis of this Mexican holiday is to honor the dead by building private altars and cooking special foods such as sugar skulls, Bread of the Dead, candied pumpkins, beverages, and other such treats that were enjoyed by the deceased. These are left out in the homes to welcome the dead on these two special days.

The celebration itself has been traced back to an Aztec festival that was held thousands of years ago and was dedicated to a goddess called "Micteacihuatl" (The Lady of the Dead).

Baking Your Own Pan de Muerto
This soft bread is rounded in shape and covered in sugar. On top of the bread, additional dough is added to create a skull shape or bones on the surface. Sometimes fruit juices, like orange juice, are added for additional flavor.

Pan de Muerto Recipe #1

* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/4 cup (half a stick) margarine or butter, cut into 8 pieces
* 1/4 cup sugar
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 1 package active dry yeast
* 1/4 cup very warm water
* 2 eggs
* 3 cups all-purpose flour, unsifted
* 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
* 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
* 2 teaspoons sugar


1. Bring milk to boil and remove from heat. Stir in margarine or butter, 1/4 cup sugar and salt. Mix well.
2. In large bowl, mix yeast with warm water until dissolved and let stand 5 minutes. Add the milk mixture.
3. Separate the yolk and white of one egg. Add the yolk to the yeast mixture, but save the white for later. Slowly add flour to the yeast and egg, blending well after each addition. Blend well until dough ball is formed.
4. Turn dough out onto a floured surface and knead until smooth (about 10 minutes). Return dough to a large greased bowl and cover with dish towel. Let rise in warm place for 90 minutes.
5. Punch down dough and turn out on a floured surface. Divide the dough into four equal pieces and set one aside. Roll the remaining 3 pieces into "ropes." On greased baking sheet, pinch 3 rope ends together and braid. Finish by pinching ends together on opposite side. Divide the remaining dough in half and form 2 "bones." Cross and lay them atop braided loaf.
6. Cover bread with dish towel and let rise for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, in a bowl, mix anise seed, cinnamon and 2 teaspoons sugar together. In another bowl, beat egg white lightly.
7. Brush top of bread with egg white and sprinkle with sugar mixture, but not on the crossed bones. Bake at 350 F degrees for 35 minutes.
Pan de Muerto Recipe #2
This Bread of the Dead recipe uses orange juice and orange zest for flavor.


* 1/4 cup margarine
* 1/4 cup milk
* 1/4 cup warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
* 3 cups all-purpose flour
* 1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
* 1/2 teaspoon salt
* 2 teaspoons anise seed
* 1/4 cup white sugar
* 2 eggs, beaten
* 2 teaspoons orange zest


* 1/4 cup white sugar
* 1/4 cup orange juice
* 1 tablespoon orange zest
* 2 tablespoons white sugar

1. Place the milk, water and butter together in a medium saucepan. Heat until butter is melted, but do not boil.
2. In a large bowl combine 1 cup of the flour, yeast, salt, anise seed and 1/4 cup of the sugar. Beat in the warm milk mixture then add the eggs and orange zest and beat until well combined. Stir in 1/2 cup of flour and continue adding more flour until the dough is soft, but not sticky.
3. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, approximately 10 minutes.
4. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with a clean towel, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size - about 1 to 2 hours.
5. Punch the dough down; remove a handful of dough and set aside. Shape the main portion of dough into a large round loaf. Using the small amount you removed, create a cross of "bones" and place on top of the loaf.
6. Place the rounded dough on a greased baking sheet, loosely cover again and let rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until just about doubled in size.
7. Bake in a preheated 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 to 45 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool slightly. Brush with glaze.
8. To make glaze: In a small saucepan combine the 1/4 cup sugar, orange juice and orange zest. Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil for 2 minutes. Brush over top of bread while still warm. Sprinkle glazed bread with white sugar.

In Mexico the only thing we eat on Day of the Dead that is different from any other day of the year is pan de muerto or dead bread. No it doesn't look like Jerry Garcia, but that would be interesting and probably illegal. Actually pan de muerto is eaten made and sold by bakers for several weks leading up to November 2nd which is Day of the Dead.
It looks like this
Some people say that the little bulges or knots represent souls. These tend to be pulled off and eaten before the bread is cut. Pan de muerto may be served with hot chocolate, atole (a sweet corn starch based drink) or coffee.

I live and eat in Mexico every day of the year.

Food is considered indispensable for the celebration. The foods offered in the memorial are different according to the wishes and social status of the deceased. Typical foods include: bread, fruits vegetables, and sweets.
Other delicacies available for the celebration are: sugar skulls (bought from the bakeries with the names of each on of the members of the family who are alive and of the deceased), candied fruit and pumpkins, tamales (corn meal with meat or raising wrapped in corn husk) and maize dough cakes, as well as enchiladas and chalupas (thicker corn tortillas with topings).

Beverages which are placed on the memorial include: water, coffee, beer, tequila, and atole (corn starch fruit flavored hot drink, a special drink made from corn meal.)

Depending on how elaborate the display is, it will show the status of the deadest to the neighbors. While the tradition as stayed mostly the same throughout time, the foods have changed. Today, for instances they honor the dead with beer, enchiladas and chocolate, in ancient times it would more likely have been dogs and turkeys.

One thing has remained constant, and that is the use of bread. The custom of having a loaf of bread relates to the early custom in Spain of begging for souls. Some believe that the Spanish technology of bread-baking and the identical term used in Spain highly suggests that this tradition was Spanish in introduction. It has been written that the Zapotec Indians (State of Oaxaca) listed, bread for the dead, among their death offerings for the departed souls. It is believed that this ritual dates as early as the colonial period of Mexico

Hi Alex, from what I've read the food eaten on the "day of the dead" would typically be the foods that whoever has passed on would have enjoyed or their favorite dishes.

"You would want to provide for (the spirits) the very best things they loved in life, the things made with the most love and the most care," Linda McAllister said. "You would make their favorite dish. In Mexico, some of the best stuff you would make would be moles, tamales, because those are made for special occasions -- particularly mole because it takes so many ingredients."

It is believed that the souls of children, los angelitos, return first on Oct. 30 and 31. Toys, not-so-spicy foods and candies would be provided on la ofrenda, or separate miniature altars might be made for them with small cups, saucers, and even miniature pan de muerto.

Sweet, egg-rich "bread of the dead" (pan de muerto) is one of the constants of Día de Los Muertos, although it varies regionally


Altars vary from region to region but most include traditional foods such as mole, atole, tortillas, fruits, pan de muerto, chocolate, and sugar skulls. Even the most basic altar includes three items:

Atole is an ancient drink made from corn meal and water is flavored with various fruits.

Chocolate was first cultivated and consumed by the Mayans and Aztecs. The Aztecs believed that drinking chocolate, from the fermented cacao beans, would provide them with great wisdom, understanding and energy. The priestly classes drank it as a way of establishing a higher consciousness.

For the Aztecs, the cocoa tree had a religious significance. It was believed to be of divine origin that was a bridge between earth and heaven.

The tamale dates back to the Aztecs. Their main food was corn, which they made tortillas and tamales.


The food most closely associated with the Day of the Dead is pan de muerto (bread of the dead). It varies regionally, and is baked in many shapes, including skulls, human figures, crosses and teardrops, then sprinkled with colored sugar.

Tamales and mole are also essential offerings. The former because of its pre-Columbian origins. "They are pre-Hispanic in nature and also because people tended to be buried in petates (straw mats the Aztecs carried with them to sleep on). The husks are supposed to represent that. The masa is the body, and the sauce is the blood--ghoulish but either truth or tale," says legendary Mexican chef Zarela Martinez.

The latter is the quintessential Mexican celebratory dish. "Mole is a complex dish made for special occasions, one that can involve the whole family," says Iliana de la Vega, a specialist in Mexican cooking at the Culinary Institute of America, San Antonio in Texas. "Since Día de los Muertos is a time for the gathering of family and both are culturally important foods, their inclusion is integral."

Sugar skulls, a favorite with children, are elaborately decorated candies emphasizing that death isn't the end of life nor something to be mourned, but an extension of life.



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