Día de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a lively celebration where Mexican-Americans, families throughout Mexico and observers globally gather beginning the night of Oct. 31 through Nov. 2 to celebrate life and pay respect to ancestors and family members that have passed. Día de los Muertos celebrations reflect traditions practiced by the Aztec and Spanish Catholic holidays of All Saint’s Day and All Souls’ Day. Today, these traditions continue on throughout generations to welcome loved ones passed in celebration and life-affirming joy.
During the holiday, ancestors and loved ones are remembered by building altars, called an ofrenda, that commonly feature papel picado (paper cut flags), fragrant marigolds, photos of the departed, calaveras (sugar skulls), candles, and offerings of food. All the elements of the ofrenda create a space to honor loved ones. A traditional food typically found in the ofrenda is pan de muerto, a symbolic bread representing the circle of life with cross on top to represent bones. After baking, pan de muerto can be topped with a variety of decorations including floral designs, sesame seeds, or bright colored sugars. It is not uncommon to find the favorite foods and drinks of the departed in the ofrenda to invite their return in celebration.
Food can often provide an opportunity unite with family, friends and fellow community members. Food can also create opportunities to learn more about cultures and cultural practices outside of our own. Learn about the history of Día de los Muertos, read an interview with Equal Exchange partners on how they celebrate and try your hand at making your own pan de muerto with this recipe. At Seward Co-op we invite community members to join us in honoring our differences and celebrate the harvest, within our co-op community. Return to our harvest celebrations blog throughout the fall as we highlight various holidays!
Available for a limited time, our bakery will be offering Mexican inspired sweet breads, conchas. Conchas are sweet breads topped with a flavored sugar topping typically designed to resemble a shell. Stop by the bakery to pick up a chocolate or orange flavored concha! They pair well with coffee, hot cocoa or another concha.