In many cultures, the end of harvest season is marked by celebration. Like most kids in America, we celebrated Halloween by taking a seemingly scary day and turning it into a fun night of parties, costumes, and trick-or-treating.
Later, after I married Hector, who was born and raised in Mexico, I asked him about the odd, colorful, flowery skulls and skeletons that seemed to be everywhere in their culture. It was then that I became aware of the way other cultures celebrated during harvest season including the Mexican multi-day holiday called Day of the Dead that’s celebrated on November 1st – 2nd.
Leave it to the wonderful Mexican culture to find a way to honor those who’ve died; with love, joy, humor, and great food.
Have you heard about sugar skulls?
It starts with the viewpoint that death is a normal part of our human cycle. In essence, our connection with family never ends. So, we honor all the seasons of a person’s life: childhood, adulthood, old age, and death.
Add these ingredients to the legendary Mexican sense of humor and great cooking and the notion of sugar skulls starts making more sense.
One of my favorite parts is that they took something that represents death/sadness and made it beautiful with bright colors and flowers. I just love irony, especially when it turns negative connotations or feelings into something positive.
And marigolds. What about those marigolds?
If you Google images of Mexico, two things immediately jump out: sunshine and vivid colors. Marigolds are nature’s way of encompassing both visuals. Yellows, golds, oranges, reds: the colors of sunshine. I can’t imagine a more joyful flower to add to a celebration.
I love the idea of the Day of the Dead and learning about the deep, comforting meaning behind the tradition. Hector brings to light the living history of our loved ones, who we’ve seemingly lost, by observing this beautiful tradition with reverence and the love he puts into food. Hector doesn’t just cook food for people; he honors them with it.
I’m inviting you to join our family as we celebrate Halloween on October 31st and as we continue right through November 1st and 2nd to celebrate the Day of the Dead.
This year I’ll be making Chicken Chili topped with our Salsa Verde to celebrate. I do this every year when the weather turns crisp. It’s one of my favorite comfort foods and I hope you love it as much as we do!