The name Food for the Dead weighs heavily on the name of Mexico’s defining festival, Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead). On the first two days of November, across Mexico, families visit the graves of their departed relatives. The graves are cleaned and decorated with flowers (Marigolds & Chrysanthemums) and candles, and families gather together to celebrate the lives of the departed.
In contrast to USA’s Halloween, this festival is a celebration and people bring the favorite dishes of the deceased as offerings along with other treats the departed enjoyed, including toys, fruit, tequila, mescal and cigarettes. Stories are told, musicians play, and a feast is had.
In the cities, parades are held and people dress in costumes. Traditionally, friends and family exchange sugar skulls to ward off the fear of death. Food for the Dead is all about fiesta food. You don’t have to gather in the cemeteries to enjoy the dishes in this book, but by all means invite your friends around, create a feast, mix some drinks and perhaps light a candle in memory of those who can’t be there with you!