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Nights filled with the taste of pan de muerto and the scent of cempasúchil.

Nights filled with the taste of pan de muerto and the scent of cempasúchil.

Celebration of honor.

The first two days of November the streets of Mexico are filled with orange color and the smell of sweet bread. This due to the beautiful cempasúchil flowers and the papel picado with which they are decorated, and of course, the traditional pan de muerto (bread of the dead) that is customarily eaten during this season.

The Day of the Dead is a Mexican cultural tradition known worldwide for commemorating and remembering those who are no longer with us. The customs and symbols representative of these days vary according to the national state which it is located but they all have the same purpose.

Indigenous cultures believed in death and life as two parts of a whole, a life-death binomial. Therefore, in Mexico we tend to see death not from a negative perspective, but from a more joyful point of view to the fact that we are all going towards the same end. As death was part of a binomial with life, the two interact freely according to Mexican culture.

These important national dates represent a pride for the country
and makes millions of Mexicans a year come together to celebrate.

How to celebrate?

It is about celebrating death with life, attracting memories of our loved ones in the afterlife, and sharing with others in a special celebration. Commonly, it is celebrated with singing, with food, sweets, handicrafts, traditional cuts made with chopped paper and, lots of cempasúchil flowers.

It is believed that, on these particular dates, the souls of the deceased return to earth and for this reason their loved ones usually prepare a symbolic altar full of colors, food, flowers and photographs of the deceased. All with the intention that they can enjoy the offerings that are made to them and feel loved.

Altars are made with a solid base such as a table or a variety of them, covered with a blanket and on top decorated with all kinds of distinctive objects.

Each altar is distinguished by the age and likings of the person who passed away, and the people who make them make the effort to bring objects that can go on the top that meant something to the deceased. If the deceased was a minor, colored candles, treats, toys, among other things that go in relation to what children normally like can be placed. In other cases where it is made for someone who already was of legal age, the candle would no longer be colorful but instead it would have neutral colors. Likewise, for each age range, dates are specified to commemorate them: October 30 and 31 are dedicated to the children and November 1 is called All Saints’ Day and it is the day in which the rest of the deceased are celebrated. Every altar must have a portrait of the deceased, to give uniqueness to this project and showcase the person we are remembering. This activity is carried out at fairs, in schools and even within some company and of course, at home.

A typical meal to enjoy on this Day of the Dead is the pan muerto, which is a dessert made with a bread base with sugar positioned at the top. The bread has a peculiar shape, it has a circle at the top symbolizing the skull and spines all around resembling the bones of the body. Its orange blossom flavor is thought to represent the memory of the deceased.

Another food typically digested on these dates is the mucbipollo or Mukbil Pollo, which has its origin in the Mayan culture and tends to be prepared by making a hole in the earth and covering it with banana leaves. The word mukbil, in Mayan means “something that must be buried”, alluding to its preparation process that includes its insertion into the ground. It is shaped like a round or square tamale, with a mass of corn, tomato, lard, bell pepper, onion, epazote and beans.

Nowadays the Day of the Dead is celebrated in many parts of the world by several Mexicans both domestically and abroad. The embassies and the promotional institutes of the country tend to emphasize these days to serve as the living representation of Mexican culture.

What is cempasúchil and why is it so important during these dates?

A symbol normally associated with the Day of the Dead is the Cempasúchil flower, native to Mexico and its name comes from the Nahuatl cempohualxochitl which means flower with 20 petals. Its distinguished orange color and the legends that are told about this flower is what has made it become such a representation of Mexican culture.

It is a special flower because it symbolizes life and death. During these dates it is used as a guide for the souls, so they can find their way.

Day of the Dead at Fairmont Mayakoba.

Fairmont Mayakoba maintains this special Mexican tradition by commemorating and appreciating every element that characterizes it.

This year, it will be celebrated with an evening that will transport guests and heartists to a celebration in the world of the dead. The evening will begin with a path filled with candles and mystery as you make your way through the pantheon and deeper and deeper into the other world. Altars and cempasúchil flowers will not be missing on this day and of course they will be appreciated at all times. Once you go through the portal and drink the elixir, you will find the greatest party in La Laguna: Live music, Tacos, Churros, Ponche, Mexican dishes and Pan de muerto for everyone, both the living and those who accompany us only tonight.

La Laguna is a restaurant inside the Fairmont Mayakoba with Mexican cuisine perfect for the occasion.

What a delight to enjoy a pan de muerto under the moonlight in the middle of mangroves?
Ready to live this unforgettable experience? Let’s dance and enjoy this tradition as it should be.


La Laguna / Fairmont Mayakoba

By : Michelle Hernandez

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