Saturday, November 8, 2014


The History: Gringo G, your favorite Gringo Mexico City Foodie Blog, has a special place in his heart for the Day of the Dead. Before arriving in Mexico City the only place Gringo G would observe this fascinating tradition was in Spanish class. After experiencing this LIVING tradition (ironic given the name and origin of the tradition itself) Gringo G has become quite attached with practicing Day of the Dead.

Some studies say Day of the Dead has been a tradition in Mexico for thousands of years with many of the pre-colonial civilizations practicing certain rituals to honor their deceased. What is very clear is that the tradition has both pre-colonial and Spanish elements related to All Saints Day.

In the end the celebration is a way to REVIVE those that have passed away celebrating their LIVES and keeping memories ALIVE.

The tradition has become an important part of Gringo G's life; but as always Gringo G strongly relates with the wonderful food served during Day of the Dead which as Jimmy Hendrix might say is part of ...

The Experience: Gringo G highly recommends visiting several different places to fully experience Day of the Dead if you are in Mexico: small Mexican towns, Xochimilco and the Ciudad Universitaria Campus of the UNAM both in Mexico City, Pátzcuaro in the state of Michoacán and some parts of Veracruz.

Gringo G himself had the priviledge of visiting the mega-ofrendas or mega-altars at the Ciudad Universitaria Campus of the UNAM. The political slogans and sometimes provocative social commentaries were very interesting and can be seen in the photos below.

Mega-Ofrenda at CU UNAM

Marigolds "Cempasuchiles" are the traditional flower in Ofrendas

Traditional Paper Cut Out

The Food: Gringo G's favorite Day of the Dead pastime is eating the leftover food from the altar (some believe this should not be done ... I believe the food should not be wasted). The always wonderful hot "Pan de Muerto" or dead bread, with its skeleton symbology and wonderful citric taste (usually developed through the use of orange rinds to flavor the bread) is a Gringo G favorite. It is also nice to devour hot mole and the traditional skeleton flavored sweets normally offered to the Dead. Also a wonderful specialty is the "Calabaza en Tacha", a seasonal treat made from pumpkin, concentrated brown sugar, guava and cinnamon.

Typical Sugar-Encrusted Pan de Muerto

Traditional Sugar and Chocolate Skulls

In the end Gringo G enjoys sharing this tradition with whomever he can and tries to include the Familia Gringa in the tradition. R.I.P. Captain George F. Nasworthy ... my Grandfather who passed away just last year is prominently displayed along with other beloved deceased relatives from family and friends in this year's Ofrenda which can be seen below. 

EXTRA EXTRA LUXURY: Pan de Muerto filled with Skim Cream from Sucre I Cacao Bakery

NOTE: Several photos of the Ofrendas at CU UNAM displayed are care of Wikipedia Commons, an  open-source for photos and are in no way intended to infringe any existing copyrights.

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