Sunday, November 1, 2009

El Día de los Muertos

Today is another sort of a holiday, and it's called The Day of the Dead.  This holiday mostly started out in Mexico, so Mom taught me the name of it in Spanish.  The Day of the Dead is really TWO days long.  It is always on November 1 and 2.  This makes it come right after Halloween, which is not a coincidence, because "Halloween" is actually short for "All Hallows' Even."  In ordinary English, this means "The Evening Before the Day of All the Saints."  But since that's a whole lot of words to have to say, it's probably best that the name got shortened to "Halloween."

Anyway, in America and Canada and such places, November 1 is called All Saints' Day, and November 2 is called All Souls' Day.  In Mexico, though, November 1 is called The Day of the Innocents or The Day of the Little Angels, and it's when you remember children who have died.  Then on November 2, you remember the grown-ups, and that is called The Day of the Dead.  Are you confused yet?  If you are, I know how you feel because I got sort of confused learning about this holiday because it has so many names!

In doing my research, I found out that people way back in ancient history were already celebrating The Day of the Dead.  Except that in those days it was probably a day dedicated to the Aztec goddess Mictecacihuatl.  This goddess had such a long name that it took a whole month for the Aztecs to honor her properly.  She was also known as "The Lady of the Dead," and so while people were honoring her, they also thought about their loved ones who had died.

Eventually, the month of celebration got shortened to just two days, probably because nobody wanted to give a whole month of paid holidays to their employees.  Anyway, during the two Days of the Dead, people go to the cemetery to visit graves, and they take all the favorite food that the dead person used to like to eat.  And they decorate the graves with marigolds, which are supposed to bring the souls of the dead people back so that the living people can talk to them.

Another popular thing to do is make skulls out of sugar and frosting.  Mom says these are yummy, because she has eaten them, but that was a long, long time ago when she went to school in Mexico.  I wish she had saved a sugar skull for me to eat, but she says it wouldn't have tasted very good after more than 30 years.  I don't really care about that.  I would have eaten it anyway!

And here's a very yummy-looking food which is called pan de muerto.  This means "bread of the dead," which rhymes, so it could be a poem, except it's kind of short for a poem.  I wish I had one of these dead bread things to eat.  If I look at the photo long enough, I can almost smell how good it tastes!

Well, now my mouth is watering, so I think I will go ask Mom if I can have a dog treat.


  1. Interesting about Nov 1&2; as today marks the passing of my father - gone 14 years. I still miss him A LOT. We were alot alike; and shared the same kind of humor....sort of odd. Sometimes we found things funny that no one else did. Thanks for the history lesson, as I find other cultures intersting.
    Love, AP

  2. Dear Piper-

    We enjoyed your blog again today, but I think you should include a recipe for Pan de Muerto if you are going to mention something that yummy. I found this web page on line which has several recipes for Pan de Muerto. Clearly you should try the second one as it has zest in it and, as everyone knows, life with Zest is best!

    Zest, the superstar in training
    (I wanted to drop the "in training" part of my name, but mom said not yet. hrmph.)

  3. Opps -
    mom didn't put the link in, I told her to do that!

    Zest the superstar with a mom in training.

  4. Dear Friend Zest,
    Thank you for finding the recipes for Bread of the Dead, especially the one with zest in it! I will show the recipes to my mom and see if I can convince her to make them. She is not much into cooking, though, so don't hold your breath! It doesn't help that two of my brothers are allergic to wheat, but I'm not, so I think I should get to eat this yummy bread stuff all my myself!
    P.S. I think you are already a superstar. Your mom is mean to make you say "in training."!

  5. Dear Piper-

    My mom made the Bread of the Dead today and it was so yummers! Of course mom didn't share very much of it with me (why are humans so stingy?), but I had to tell you what a great idea this was. I can't imagine it without the Zest - that's the best part of course.

    Zest the superstar in training

  6. Dear Zest, the Superstar i.t.,
    You are a lucky boy having a mom that will make dead bread for you! My mom is way too lazy for that, but she did go to the pet store and buy us a new bag of dog food today, so I guess I should be thankful for that.
    Your friend, Piper

  7. Piper-

    I am a girl.

    You need to train your momma better. Show your mom this page:

    Mine makes the muttloaf. My brother Digital the brindlewonderkid trained her to make this and all the basenjis get some for dinner. It is yummers even though it doesn't have Zest in it. Digital is brilliant and has like a bajillion titles to his name. Which is a real accomplishment because he's a boy. But he's pretty cool, for a boy.

    Zest the superstar in training

  8. Dear Zest,
    I am so sorry I called you a boy! Of course, I know better. Only a GIRL BASENJI could be as smart and talented as you! I showed my mom the recipe for muttloaf, and she can see why I would want her to make it, but she said it would take a lot of time to grind up all that stuff. Also Gabe and Barry are allergic to beef and chicken, so Mom would have to use fish or something else instead. She said she will think about it, but I am not holding my breath. We are now eating a new, expensive kibble called Orijen 6 Fish Formula. Also we get yummy canned food and venison green tripe mixed in with it, so it's not like Mom is exactly starving us. The muttloaf sure looks good, though!