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    The sweet part of Day of the Dead

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    The sweet part of Day of the Dead

    Day of the Dead is a wonderful and singular Mexican tradition that has marveled many but it has also stunned and confused many others by the fact that it turns all the sadness THE DEAD carries into a celebration full of color and joy.

    Day of the Dead celebration in Mexico has been present since the pre- Hispanic era. However, just like many current traditions, this tradition has a fusion with the Spanish colonization, which replaced some of its original elements. Such is the case of the SUGAR SKULLS that appear now in the altars, one of the most outstanding icons of this tradition.

    For the ancient Mesoamerica dwellers it was very common to make the called ” tzompantli”, altars made with hundreds of piled up craniums belonging to people who had been sacrificed to honor their gods, especially Mictlantecuhtli, their underworld god. With the arrival of the Spaniards and the colonization, these traditions were omitted and instead of setting up offerings with human craniums, the technique of “ALFEÑIQUE” was introduced.

    The alfeñique is a kind of caramel made with pure sugar cane melted with hot water and lime to create a very malleable paste. With these paste are is made an ample variety of figures, the skulls among them. New ingredients have been added to the original recipe, so we can find sugar skulls made with amaranth or chocolate. Also, every state of Mexico has its own and particular way to do it.

    Another interesting fact of the sugar skulls is that they are all given the name of a person that is placed on the forehead. There are two theories to explain this. One is that the name of the dead person who is honored has to be written, and there are those who think it is the name of a family member of friend, still alive, what must be written, as it will mean they will have a safe place in the life after death, according to ancient beliefs.

    With these sugar skulls not only do we remember those gone before us, but also we keep our beautiful and peerless traditions alive. This Day of the Dead, do not hesitate to purchase them and help a local artisan still working the traditional alfeñique technique, especially in the states still running the original recipe: Guanajuato, Morelos and the State of México.


    Angela Ortega (Eng)

    Born in the central region of Mexico, but having lived most of her life in the beautiful state of Nayarit, Angela fell in love with this area’s landscapes and its natural beauty. With the firm conviction from an early age that she wanted to be part of the way tourism was managed in her state and the country at large, she studied a degree in Tourism Management and Development at the Technological University of Nayarit. Immediately following her studies, she immersed herself in the world of hospitality in Puerto Vallarta, an iconic city within Mexico known for its wide range of hotels. Working within this field, she took various positions, which allowed her to develop many skills such as teamwork and great service as well as to learn about the standards of operations at a large hotel complex. After taking a break from the hotel industry for personal reasons, her path met Mexico Boutique Hotels, a company that closely matched her personal convictions, which involve presenting Mexico to the world as a brand that guarantees memorable experiences thanks to its natural beauty and the excellent hospitably of its people who by their very nature provide great service and are excellent hosts. Angela currently serves as Chief E-Concierge and Travel Designer for the aforementioned company, offering travelers the opportunity to live a different experience every day, where attention to details make a huge difference.

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