Just as I promised, there were a lot more to come! Mexico was for me a great adventure and a great oppotunity to understand people who have very little in common with you, yet so much.
Mexicans like to eat good food, drink and dance until their feet can’t take it anymore but more importantly, they like to be around people. They love their families and friends, and they are always open to meet new people and welcome you into their lives.
One of the most popular and greatest festivity is the Día de Muertos, or Day of the Dead, and it is celebrated by Mexicans all over the world. There are traces for the origins of this holiday to indigenous observances dating back hundreds of years and to an Aztec festival dedicated to the goddess Mictecacihuatl, the Queen of the Underworld.
What they do is build private altars called “ofrendas”, honoring the deceased using calaveras, aztec marigolds, and the favorite foods and beverages of the departed, and visiting graves with these as gifts.
“On October 31st, All Hallows Eve, the children make a children’s altar to invite the “angelitos” (spirits of dead children) to come back for a visit. November 1st is All Saints Day, and the adult spirits will come to visit. November 2nd is All Souls Day, when families go to the cemetery to decorate the graves and tombs of their relatives. The three-day fiesta is filled with marigolds, the flowers of the dead, muertos (the bread of the dead), sugar skulls, cardboard skeletons, tissue paper decorations, fruit and nuts, incense, and other traditional foods and decorations.”
— Frances Ann Day, Latina and Latino Voices in Literature
It’s their way to honor their dead, and what a lovely way to do it.
But I have to talk to you about my favorite thing on that side of the world.
They are called “Tacos al Pastor” and is a dish developed in Central Mexico, a shawarma spit-grilled meat brought by Lebanese immigrants. It is very similar to Greek “gyro” and Turkish “döner”, altough this is pork based, much like the Greek one.
The pork is marinated in a combination of dried chilies, spices and pineapple, and later served on small tortillas, with chopped onions, coriander, and a small slice of pineapple. Being in Mexico, it is necessary that you top it with some lime juice and occasionally hot salsa.
This combination of all the ingredients must be one of the best I have come across and it became something that I would eat on a night out or just because!
Ok, now I have to go make some taquitos!