While many right now have Halloween on the brain, another larger and for more ancient holiday approaches. November 1st marks the beginning of the traditional Mexican two-day holiday of Día de los Muertos Day of the Dead.
The celebration began in central and southern Mexico in pre-Columbian times, some believe as far back as 3000 years ago. Since then Dia de los Muertos is now an official recognized holiday in Mexico (banks and businesses close on November 2nd in observance) and is also celebrated by families in the United States and other countries around the world.
Though the name sounds macabre, the purpose of this ancient holiday is to revere our ancestry and celebrate the lives of friends and loved ones whom have passed.
It begins on November 1st with Día de los Inocentes – (Day of the Innocents), otherwise known as Día de los Angelitos – (Day of the Little Angels) where we remember the passing of children. Followed the next day by Dia de los Muertos.
During these days families go to the cemetery to be near their departed ancestors. The graves are cleaned and decorated, often with flowers and colorful paper, sometimes with paper mache skeletons. Ofrendas (altars) are built and offerings of marigolds and sugar skulls are left as gifts for the deceased.
The belief is that the spirits will return to visit loved ones. During this celebration traditional meals are cooked, music is played, and people young and old celebrate their ancestors and their own personal history. It is about love of family and reverence to those who lived before them.
If you want to celebrate Día de los Muertos, we would suggest trying to find Pan de los Muertos, a sugar coated sweet bread, though in a pinch you could use Pan Dulce. Mole Negro and tamales are staples as are Champurrado Mexican hot chocolate and Atole, a warm drink made from corn.
Tequila based cocktails are also great for raising spirits. L.A. Mixologist Jason Bran created the Stormy 70 featuring Tequila Don Julio. This Tuesday November 1st lets raise a glass to the dearly departed.
To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die. — Thomas Campbell
Created by Los Angeles Mixologist Jason Bran
- 1 1/2 oz Tequila Don Julio 70
- 1 oz Ginger Beer
- 1/2 oz Grapefruit Juice
- 1/2 oz Pomegranate Juice
- Grapefruit Slice for Garnish
- Combine Tequila Don Julio 70, ginger beer and grapefruit juice in a highball glass with ice and stir.
- Top with pomegranate juice.
- Garnish with grapefruit slice.
Ideal Serving Glass: