Día de los Muertos is fast approaching, and if you don’t know what that is you better buckle up and settle in, because it’s about to be your new favorite holiday.
Día de los Muertos, Spanish for “Day of the Dead,” is a Mexican national holiday celebrated on November 1 and 2. Because Día de los Muertos takes place right around Halloween, Americans often make the mistake of assuming that it’s just the Mexican version of Halloween. In reality, however, Día de los Muertos is much more than that.
Halloween in America is centered mostly around ghost stories, scare tactics and candy. Even though adults get excited for Halloween parties and bar crawls, the holiday is mostly geared towards children. Día de los Muertos, on the other hand, is a holiday celebrated by all ages. Not only is it a family holiday, but the festival of Día de los Muertos is strongly rooted in heritage and religion.
The celebration of Día de los Muertos coincides with All Saints’ Day, a religious holiday on the Catholic calendar. Because Catholicism is the primary religion in Mexico, Día de los Muertos is celebrated nationwide. During Día de los Muertos, Mexican families visit the graveyards where their loved ones are buried to honor and celebrate their lives. The exuberant blend of Aztec and Catholic tradition in Mexico makes Día de los Muertos a colorful, loud and joyous holiday for all who celebrate.
The Mexican people believe that their deceased loved ones would be offended and deeply upset by the thought of their family and friends sitting around mourning their deaths with church hymns and black veils. So with music, decor, food and drink, neighborhoods of people gather at local cemeteries for a fiesta!
Celebrators of this holiday believe that Día de los Muertos is the only time during the year that the dead can be spiritually reunited with their acquaintances. Not only are the Mexican people celebrating the lives of their friends and family, but they also believe they are celebrating alongside their deceased loved ones.
Some Americans do not know that Día de los Muertos is actually two days long. November 1 is technically Día de los Inocentes, reserved for honoring the lives of children passed too soon. November 2 is Día de los Muertos, which is reserved for remembrance of adults and the elderly. Typically, children’s graves are covered in white flowers, baby’s breath and orchids, while adult graves are adorned with orange marigolds. The graves of all “los muertos” are smothered in ofrendas, or “offerings,” to the dead. Ofrendas can be food, drink, photos, games, flowers, candles or anything else brought by family and friends to be placed on the gravesites. Normally an ofrenda is something that the deceased enjoyed during their life and that family members are now allowing them to enjoy again during the holiday while they celebrate.
After hearing about how spiritual, and festive Día de los Muertos is, you’re probably super upset that you don’t have a trip to Mexico booked next week. Do not fret, my little monsters, we have found a way for you to celebrate too!
Enter the Pinot de los Muertos, a red wine cocktail with a Mexican flair. With tequila, lime and red wine, the Pinot de los Muertos incorporates lively colors, flavors and textures to help channel that Día flair.
Makes 1 Pinot de los Muertos
1 ½ oz. silver tequila
1 ½ oz. Pinot Noir
½ oz. lime juice
½ oz. agave nectar
2 oz. citrus soda (Fresca or Sprite work best!)
1 slice of lime
Edible flower garnish
- Fill a cocktail shaker halfway with ice.
- Add all ingredients into the cocktail shaker (except lime slice and flower garnish).
- Shake it like a maraca until you feel the outside of the cocktail shaker get cold.
- Fill a glass halfway with ice.
- Strain mixture into glass.
- Run the slice of lime quickly around the rim and then use the slice for garnish.
- Add an edible flower to float in your glass and bring some extra Día de los Muertos vibes.
This year, Día de los Muertos falls on Wine Wednesday. So, mark your calendars and throw a mini fiesta in your living room! Celebrate with food, music and, of course, your new favorite festive beverage. But don’t forget, Día de los Muertos is an important celebration of heritage and religion. So have fun, but make sure to remain respectful of the culture.
Source: National Geographic