El Día de los Muertos, or Day of the Dead, is a Mexican holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and around the world. The holiday focuses on gatherings of family and friends to pray for and remember friends and family members who have passed away.
In Mexico, it is a national holiday, and all banks are closed. The celebration takes place on November 1, in conjunction with the Catholic holidays of All Saints' Day and All Souls' Day (November 2). Traditions connected with the holiday include building altar de muertos, private altars honoring the deceased using sugar skulls, marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts. They also leave possessions of the deceased.
Scholars trace the origins of the modern Mexican holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl. These Mexican traditions, due to globalization and the diaspora of Mexico people around the globe, have spread throughout the world: In Brazil, Dia de Finados is a public holiday that many Brazilians celebrate by visiting cemeteries and churches. In Spain, there are festivals and parades, and, at the end of the day, people gather at cemeteries and pray for their dead loved ones.
In addition to the wonders of the occasion, a cute and delicious treat popular with both young and old is the sandwich de muerto, or Day of the Dead Sandwich. Sweet, savory, and also healthy, is a fun treat for the whole family.
- Peanut Butter & Jelly
- Mini Marshmallows
- Assorted Decorations
This sandwich works well with peanut butter & jelly because the jelly shows through the eyes and nose holes and looks cool and creepy, but feel free to substitute whatever kind of filling you want.
- Spread fillings on bottom slice of bread, set aside.
- Cut eyes and nose holes in top piece of bread (eyes: I used a bottle cap. nose: you could use a heart shaped cutter, but I used a skewer to poke holes in the shape I wanted and then pushed the piece out of the bread).
- Cut teeth out with butter knife.
- Use any little doodads in your kitchen to create decorative dots, flowers, and swirls. Google “sugar skulls” for tons of decoration inspiration!
- I used craisins, pumpkin seeds, mini marshmallows cut in half, chocolate chips and a mini cookie.
- Other good materials would be: candy, fruit snacks, licorice, etc.
- Fill in the teeth with something to make them show up (I used pumpkin seeds turned sideways).
- Garnish plate with marshmallow dots.
El Día de los Muertos is an important time to honor those that have entered the next life. In the meantime, enjoy the friends, family, and company around you with this festive treat. ¡Buen Provecho!