Dia De Los Muertos

Dia De Los Muertos, Herencia Style

Today, to honor the matriarchs who are no longer with us, I want to talk about Dia de los Muertos. This holiday is special to me because I grew up celebrating it. My family and I would travel to Mexico to visit our departed in the cemetery there. This year, due to the pandemic and having a newborn, I am unfortunately unable to travel to Mexico. Though I know I can honor my ancestors from afar, with food, libations, prayers, and memories, I want to take the time to share this blog today. I would like to reminisce about the traditions my family has to honor our loved ones for Day of the Dead.

Honoring my Nanas on Day of the Dead

My Nana Isabel lived in Los Angeles, but she rests in Sonora, Mexico. When she passed, we laid her to rest next to my great-grandmother, my Nana Lupita. My family and I travel to Mexico to visit their final resting place. We clean them, adorn them with flowers, and more. My two Nanas were both very influential to the creation of Herencia Cookbook. Additionally, each recipe in Herencia Cookbook is preceded by an anecdote about the matriarch who inspired the recipe. Many recipes and anecdotes in the book were inspired by my Nanas.  

Dia de los Muertos in Sonora, Mexico

The cemeteries in Mexico are so different from the cemeteries here in the US! In Mexico, for Day of the Dead, the cemetery is full of vibrancy. There are musicians who walk around and offer serenades for a few pesos to your loved ones who are no longer here. Outside of the cemetery, there are stands that sell candies, confections, wreaths, and flowers. When visiting the cemetery, my family and I typically spend the whoooole day there!

We pack food, like tacos dorados from our favorite taco spot. Additionally, some family members take chicken, rice, and salad meals in those white foam containers.  All the tios and my dad are in charge of bringing coolers full of beers, sodas, and water bottles. The older cousins bring chucherias (junk food like chips and Mexican candies) for the younger cousins. My dad takes the lead in bringing the iPod and speakers so we can listen to music that reminds us of our loved ones. Everyone offers their own contribution to the family picnic and celebration. We spend the day eating, drinking, listening to music, telling stories, and celebrating.

Celebrating Day of the Dead in the States

Yes, I am sad I cannot go to Mexico this year to adorn my Nanas’ graves with flowers. But, I will honor them here at home in my own way, by cooking foods that remind me of them. Recipes that they created. When I make these foods, it feels (to me) like a part of them still exists. I will light candles in their name and pray for them. Additionally, I will talk about them out loud. Finally, I will remember my favorite moments with them. They will be in my heart, today and always.

Do you celebrate Dia de los Muertos? How do you celebrate it? I would love to know! Be sure to hit us up in the comments. Finally, are you interested in learning more? Then check out my blog and my book for authentic Salvi Mex recipes with a modern (and sometimes healthy) twist. Until next time, Buen Provecho! Herencia Cookbook is currently available for sale on Amazon.

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