With Día de Muertos right around the corner, shelves at bakeries and stores in Puerto Vallarta are overflowing with Pan de Muerto. Besides being a delicious sweet bread, what makes Pan de Muerto unique is its special role in Mexico’s Day of the Dead celebrations.
During the Day of the Dead holiday (Oct. 31 – Nov. 2), Mexicans honor their loved ones who have passed away by leaving ofrendas (offerings) at their gravesites or at altars made at home. The offerings left for the dead usually consist of what that person enjoyed when they were alive.
In addition to the deceased’s favorite food and drink, it’s common to leave some Pan de Muerto on the altars. It is very important during this season, and the meaning behind it is as rich as its flavor.
The bread can be baked in different shapes, but it’s traditionally round like a bun. Dough strips that resemble bones are baked in a circle across the top to portray the circle of life, and a teardrop is often baked into the center to represent the living’s grief over those who have passed.
While family members are the ones who actually eat the Pan de Muerto, it is believed that the bread provides the spirits with sustenance after their long journey home. Since no Día de Muertos celebration is complete without the bread of the dead, here’s an authentic Pan de Muerto recipe that you can make at home, courtesy of Mexico in My Kitchen.
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