Today, Nov. 1 is ALL SAINTS DAY, Dia de los Muertos and tomorrow is ALL SOULS DAY :)
When I was a child I was taught that HALLOWEEN means Hallowed Evening or Holy Evening because it was the evening that dead relatives and friends start to arrive to visit us in spirit. We knew November 1st as All Saints Day and November 2nd as All Souls Day.
When I visited Mexico in 2003, I arrived in Hidalgo del Parral in Chihuahua, Mexico on November 1 and was awed at the beautiful flowers lining the city streets. It was early in the morning and vendors were setting up to sell flowers to the locals. Everyone in the city buys flowers to take to the graves of their dead family members and friends. Truly, it was one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen in my lifetime. All the beautiful flowers lining the streets was amazing.
On November 8 it will be the 6 month anniversary of my young son passing and we are celebrating his life today by serving his favorite food for dinner. We are having lasagna and for dessert, cheese cake - his favorites. In memory of my wonderful son, Thomas. I LOVE YOU, TOM, AND I MISS YOU MORE THAN WORDS CAN SAY.
PASCO -- Though last night's ghouls and goblins have hung up their costumes, some Tri-Citians continue to wait for a visit from some spirits.
Homemade altars are a common sight in many Latino households as part of the Dia de los Muertos holiday, coinciding with All Saints' and All Souls' Days Nov. 1-2.
Those who want to honor the dead set up tables with flickering candles called veladoras, glasses of water, fruit and pan de muerto a couple of days before to welcome back the spirits of their loved ones.
Pan de muerto, round loaves of sweet bread, are one of the most iconic items on the altars, and Mexican bakeries have been working long hours to get ready.
The ovens at Viera's bakery in downtown Pasco have been churning out the special bread for two weeks, said baker Andres Atriano. Loaves are about $2.
"This bread is a bit more rich," Atriano said, explaining it uses more egg and butter than other recipes.
Traditional loaves have dough criss-crossed on the top to symbolize bones and are used as an offering or are shared among the living during gatherings to honor the dead.
Traditionally, it's believed the spirits get thirsty and hungry on their long journey back home, said Olivia Trejo, with the Mexican food store Super Mex in Pasco.
So the offerings, or ofrendas, usually include the decadent breads, decorated sugar skulls called calaveras, candles and fruits, along with photos of the loved ones and some of their favorite things.
When Trejo's mother builds an altar for her loved ones, she includes cigarettes and soda "to make their visit more pleasant," Trejo said in Spanish.
Inocente Sandoval of Benton City ordered 20 breads shaped like giant gingerbread men from Pasco's Panaderia Tecoman.
"We're used to making a large altar for the holiday," he said.
The breads, each with a different name spelled in strawberry jam, are for the 73-year-old's parents, siblings and other family members who have died.
"We only leave it out for a couple of days," he said, adding that he doesn't leave out personalized items because there are too many, "but I'm sure they appreciate it anyway."
Panaderia Tecoman's co-owner Sonia Blanco said they're more than happy to customize the bread.
"It's nice to remember them in that way," she said in Spanish.
Blanco and her husband, Hector, began building their own altars when Hector's father died seven years ago.
"We've been building one for him ever since," she said, adding that Hector leaves bottles of his dad's favorite beer on the altar.
When they opened the bakery six years ago, there was no doubt they'd bake the special bread for others to add to their altars.
"This year we're expecting to sell 1,000 panes de muerto," said Hector as he was feverishly working in his Pasco bakery.