History of Day of the Dead: Día de los Muertos

Day of the Dead is an exciting Mexican holiday that is celebrated on November 1 and 2. The holiday is usually celebrated in central and southern Mexico during this time, and honors and celebrates the dead. During Day of the Dead it is believed that the gates of heaven open at midnight on October 31 and the spirits of deceased children are allowed to reunite with their families for 24 hours. Then, at midnight on November 1, the spirits of adults come down to enjoy the festivities as well.

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One of the most popular symbols of Day of the Dead is the sugar skull. Sugar skulls are purchased at open-air markets or are homemade, and are used as a celebratory offering and decoration for the dead during this time. To celebrate this holiday, many Mexican families create altars, called ofrendas, in their homes. These ofrendas are decorated with candles, flowers, fruit, peanuts, plates of turkey mole, stacks of tortillas, sugar skulls, and the Day of the Dead bread called pan de muerto (or bread of the dead). Those who create these altars are sure to stock them with food, soda, hot cocoa, and water for the spirits, who may have hunger or thirst during their travels and the celebrations. On November 2 you may even see cigarettes or shots of mezcal offered to the adult spirits on these altars. Also on this second day, the celebrations are taken to the cemetery where the dead have been buried. People clean the tombs of their loved ones, play cards, listen to music, and reminisce about their memories with deceased friends and family.

As Day of the Dead grows more popular in the U.S., you may want to celebrate in a way of your own. Consider dining at Verde Kitchen and Cocktails to enjoy some authentic Mexican cuisine during this exciting and haunting holiday. We will be open from noon to midnight, so come pay us a visit at 70 East Main Street in Bay Shore, New York.

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