Day of the Dead, or Día del los Muertos, is actually a celebration of life. Held on Nov. 1 and 2, it’s a blend of Catholicism and traditions from pre-Hispanic cultures. The belief is that the deceased are allowed to visit their loved ones on this special occasion. So to remember and honor them, Mexicans gather at the cemetery to sweep and decorate the graves of their dead relatives and hold a joyful party. They also build elaborate altars adorned with mementos from that person’s life.
At Four Seasons Resort Punta Mita, Mexico, the staff is bringing Day of the Dead to life today and tomorrow. Patricia Gonzalez Mollera, a team member at the resort’s Cultural Center, sets up an ofrende—traditional altar—at the resort’s Cultural Center in the main lobby and invites guest to add a memento in honor of a lost loved one.
The altar includes the four elements of nature: earth (fruit), traditionally sugarcane, guavas, mandarins and apples, plus special sweet bread; wind (bright-colored tissue paper with cut out designs); water (a glass of water for the visiting souls to drink); and fire (a candle to remember each person, and one for the souls who have no one to remember them). Other ornaments might be Copal Tree resin burned over charcoal; flowers—Cempasuchil or yellow Marigolds (the original name, Cempoalxochitl in Náhuatl, means the flower of 400 lives—the petals, along with beans and seeds, make a path to show the deceased one’s path to the altar; salt; sugar skulls; and festive dishes, such as mole and tamales, washed down with beer and tequíla.
Patricia’s family uses this recipe to make the traditional sugar skulls, Calaveras de Azúcar:
2 cups powdered sugar
1 egg white
1 tablespoon corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/3 cup cornstarch
food coloring, icing if desired
1 fine paintbrush, skull-shaped cookie cutters
Serves six to eight.
We dared guests to put on their scariest, spookiest, wackiest hats for Halloween and take a Twitpic—for a chance to win a dinner for two. The guests who showed up in costume Oct. 31 also enjoyed a complimentary “Haunted Halloween Dessert” from Executive Pastry Chef Tim Fonseca. Four Seasons Hotel Boston Facebook fans can select their favorite by casting their vote via the Photo Contest Tab (we’ll post the winner tomorrow, Nov. 2).
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