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Decorations and Treats

Stores and shops in the stalls of the markets set up large displays like the one above to show off their muertos wares. There are a variety of decorations, candy, and bread to chose from to prepare for the Day of the Dead feast and/or to decorate the tombs and gravestones of loved ones.

In their decorations, the skull or skeleton is often used. They are often made to be grinning or engaged in ordinary daily activities like drinking, eating, riding horses, etc. The skeleton is turned into a cheerful defiance or mocking of death itself, and a symbol of celebration of passing into the next life.

Small arrangements like these are usually used to decorate tombstones in the cemetery or ofrendas,
dedication altars set up at the cemetery or at homes or businesses in the city.

Candy, candy, candy. Candy flows through Oaxaca during el Dia de los Muertos and most of the candy displayed and eaten takes the form of sugar skulls. There are many different ways to make these sugar skulls. Some are large and thin, easy to break apart and snack on as you are making your way through the city. Some are coated with sesame seeds and nuts. Some are chocolate and decorated with hard candies. But most of those that are used to decorate the tombs are small, hard sugar skulls, painted with frosting and bits of foil.

Sesame-seed covered skulls with nuts for teeth

Pan de Muertos. This sweet bread is a treat for both the dead and the living. If you visit Mexico during the Day of the Dead you must try the bread. You can see many loaves set out on ofrendas or at the cemeteries. They are decorated with meringues and skull shaped candies and sweets.


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