It's one of my favorite holiday traditions in San Antonio - the flower associated with it is the marigold, and there are hundreds of thousands of them sold. People here gather their families together and picnic in the old cemeteries to honor the departed. There are always altars made decorated with sugar skulls and mementos of loved ones. The Day Of The Dead is traditionally Nov. 1st and sometimes Nov. 2nd
Pan de Muertos (Bread of The Dead) is baked for this holiday. Pieces of it are shared with living family and placed on the homemade altars to "share" with family members who have crossed over.
(sent by Lyn, from Mexican Cookery by Barbara Hansen)
Scald milk by heating to just under boiling point, about 180F (80c). Pour over butter, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, orange peel and ground anise seeds in a large bowl. Stir until sugar is dossolved. Let cool. Stir yeast and pinch of sugar into 1/4 cup warm water. Let stand until yeast is softened. Beat whole eggs and egg yolks in small bowl. Spoon two tablespoons beaten eggs into small custard cup. Stir in 1 teaspoon water. Refrigerate and use for glaze. Stir softened yeast and remaining eggs into milk mixture. Stir enough flour into milk mixture to make a stiff dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth and elastic, at least ten minutes, adding more flour as needed. Clean and grease bowl. Place dough in bowl, turning to grease all sides. Cover with dry cloth towel. Let stand in a warm place free from drafts for 1 hour, or until doubled in bulk. Punch dough down and turn out on surface. Let rest while greasing two small baking sheets. Divide dough in half. Set aside about 1/3 cup from each half (this is for the "bones"). Shape large pieces of dough into round laves. Place on prepared baking sheets. Brush with some of reserved egg mixture. Divide one of the pieces of dough into three equal pieces. Roll 2 pieces into 8-9" ropes. Flatten and shape the ends of the rolls to resemble bones. Cross bone shapes on top of loaf, stretching the ends to reach the bottom of both sides. Shape third piece of dough onto a ball and moisten bottem of dough piece with egg mixture. Place in center of crossbones, pressing firmly. (Note - you can make a pretty neat-looking little skull if you make two dough balls and put the larger one on top of the littler one and sort of poke some eyes with the end of a chopstick) Repeat with remaining small piece of dough and remaining loaf. Cover loosely with towels. Let stand in a warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350F (175c). Brush loaves evenly with egg mixture. Sprinkle each loaf with 1 tablespoon sugar. Bake 30-35 minutes or until browned. Remove from baking sheet and cool on racks. Makes two loaves.
Tienda Guadalupe folk art gallery, often accompanied by Mexican chocolate and Mexican Beer. The decorations include tissue paper banners that have been pierced with metal chisels and which show skeletons in various activities, mostly having a very good time.