By Jane Bauer
The Day of the Dead falls on November 1 and 2 of each year, coinciding with the Catholic holidays All Saints’ Day and All Souls’ Day. It is a festive and joyous celebration for remembering and honoring those who have passed.
Although November 2nd is the official date for Day of the Dead, it is celebrated between October 31st and November 2nd. Usually the preparations (and some festivities) start even earlier than that. Traditionally, November 1 is the day for honoring dead children and infants, and November 2 is the day for honoring deceased adults.
Celebrations include making altars with marigolds, baking traditional bread, skull cookies, and candied pumpkin. In the evening families with gather in the cemetery to remember the dead.
If you are fortunate to be in Mexico during this holiday be sure to make a trip to the cemetery in the evening. On the coast, the cemeteries in Santa Maria Huatulco and Puerto Angel are my favorites.
Turn your Halloween decorations into a Day of the Dead dessert with this recipe for Sweet Pumpkin!
Sweet Pumpkin Preparation time: 20 minutes, 8-10 servings
- 1 medium sized pumpkin cut into medium pieces (seeds and skin removed)
- 2-3 cups of water
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 4 pieces of sugarcane
- 2-4 cinnamon sticks chopped
- Optional: You can add star anise, orange or tangerine zest
Put sugar cane in a crock pot. Add half of the chopped brown sugar, half the cinnamon and all the pumpkin pieces. Add remaining brown sugar, water and cinnamon. Cover the crock pot. Cook over low heat and simmer until the pumpkin is cooked (but keeps its shape). If the pumpkin is already soft but sweet liquid is still too watery, remove the pumpkin and boil the liquid until it is syrupy texture. Serve pumpkin warm with a spoon of yogurt or a splash of condensed milk and drizzle the syrup on top.
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