October 4, 2019Read More
Halloween in America is vastly different from Dia De La Meurtos In Latino Countries. While both focus on themes that encompass death, they have vastly different purposes. In the United States Halloween has taken on a secular commercialized nature. It features costumes but looks at death in almost brash jestful way, making caricatures of scary costumes and celebrating the holiday with movies that are designed to scare you, all from the safety of a theater or couch.
Dia Del La Muertos follows lays down a sharp contrast to the playfulness and commercialism of this type of Halloween. First it starts the day after Halloween. It is not about fun, parties, scary movies, or a playful view of death. It focuses on a more spiritual aim. The goal is to honor deceased love ones. It is a sacred holiday that is about family and celebrating their lives.
There are many traditions surrounding this holiday. One tradition that is prominent is the use of altars to honor loved ones. The altar is a good symbol of the true purpose of this holiday. The altar is an offering place where family and friends make offerings to honor deceased relatives. You most often see these at the graveside or in homes.
Families construct altars at home and at gravesites to honor those that have passed. This can include a myriad of things like
- Symbolic items
- Assorted Toys
These can be very elaborate but it represents how different Dia De La Muertos is from American Halloween. The focus is on honoring and celebrating the departed. The altars are not necessarily designed to be sad. They are there to celebrate life in a tasteful way. Different Latin American or South American countries have different traditions that they do for this somber yet peaceful holiday. Regardless, you will see alters at many of them.
Day of the Dead altars: What’s on a traditional version. (2016, October 3). Retrieved from https://www.azcentral.com/story/entertainment/holidays/day-of-the-dead/2016/10/03/day-of-the-dead-dia-de-los-muertos-altars/91511520/
Day of the Dead. (2001, October 28). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Day_of_the_Dead
October 20, 2017Read More
Halloween in America means Day of the Dead quickly follows in Latin America. Though only separated by a day, the traditions of both form a stark contrast to the secular and Latino traditions. On the surface they may look a little similar but upon closer look, they are vastly different.
Latin American Food Traditions
One area, which you know I would address here, are the food traditions of Dia De La Muerta (Day of the Dead in Spanish). In North America food seems to based on the theme of secularity and fun. Candy passed out to children who are dressed as fictional ghoulish creatures is the main event followed by parties with junk food at every turn. Pizza, burgers, wings, and truckloads of sweets are the food of Halloween in North America. Death is almost mocked in this holiday, as well as any semblances of healthy food habits. In Latin America Day of the Dead is a serious holiday.
Day of the Dead is designed to honor the dead. It is a homage to family members past. This somber mood envelops just about every aspect of this November 1st Holiday. And included in this seriousness, is the food. The dishes made in the different Latin American countries have deep symbolic meaning.
Examples of Latin American Food Traditions
I pulled a few food and beverage customs and listed them here. This is not to say that there are not many important traditions that are not culinary, I am just featuring a sampling of them here.
In Ecuador one custom is to bring a purple drink called Colada Morada to the gravesites of loved ones. This is accompanied by a sweet bread, which is in the shape of a baby.
In El Salvador festivities include a late night pumpkin dish with honey.
In Nicaragua candy, fruit, and bread accompany other offerings on the gravesites of the deceased.
You see a similar theme in some areas of Peru where sweet foods and bread are often brought graveside
But regardless of the food, you do not see humor or commercialization of the macabre. It is a holiday of honor, and the foods and drinks reflect this.
Damaly Gonzalez October 21, 2016 celebration, dia de los muertos, Festival, Holiday, indigenous people, latin america, mexican celebrations, Mexico, et al. â€śDĂa de los Muertos Celebrations in Latin America & Caribbean.â€ťÂ HipLatina, 15 June 2017, hiplatina.com/dia-de-los-muertos-celebrations-latin-america-caribbean/.
September 1, 2017Read More
September 16th is Mexican Independence Day. Often mistaken for Cinco De Mayo, it marks the anniversary of the beginning of s revolution to free Mexico from the clutches of Spain.
This theme was very common as Spain had most of the Latin American world under it’s captivity. The 18th and 19th centuries are marked with the struggle of now independent Latin republics to free themselves from the oppression of their Spanish conquerers.
So in a way the battle for independence from Spain is a pretty universal struggle in the Latino world.
Mistaken for Cinco De Mayo
While a lot of fun, Cinco De Mayo has no connection or bearing onÂ Mexican Independence Day, which was fought against the French. It is still a triumph of the Mexican people but has its own holiday. In fact, here is a quick list of facts to help clarify some of the key points of Mexican Independence Day.
Quick Facts About Mexican Independence Day
Since we mentioned Cinco De Mayo let us add some facts and dispel some myths about this famed holiday
- It is notÂ Cinco De Mayo or even part of the same conflict
- It marked the beginning of the war not the end
- The warÂ lasted 11 years after it started
- A priest,not a soilder, started the revolt
- The symbolic founder of the revolution, priest Hidalgo is captured and killed by the Spanish before the end of the war.
- The war starts with a bell ringing which is reenacted every year
But make no mistake..it is about freedom and the Mexicans,like so many other Latino countries will tell you, freedom isn’t free.
Now the fun part..Let’s celebrate
Enough of this political stuff, how about the fun. I know of no Latin festivals or commemorative occasions that are not marked by festivals and great food…
Declare your own independence from boring food
Come enjoy your own Independence Day celebration at El Sabroson. Multiple flavors and seasonings await you with our authentic Latin restaurant menu, including fresh Mexican food.
May 4, 2017Read More
Williamsburg Virginia SignificanceÂ
Very few people see Cinco de Mayo in a Williamsburg Mexican restaurant as having a significant relationship with Williamsburg Virginia’s colonial history. While you enjoy one of our ice cold margaritas at El Sabroson restaurant or some of our delicious Mexican dishes to celebrate Cinco de Mayo it might surprise you to know there is a deep meaning behind Cinco De Mayo.
Cinco De Mayo:Â More Familiar than you think
Tell me if this does not sound familiar. Cinco de Mayo is a celebration of the trial of a young developing nation against a Tyrannical European power that was invading them. For Cinco De Mayo, the big European power was France and the developing nation in North America was Mexico. But you could just as easily replace these two countries with the British invading the American colonies and see the same pattern.
The War Origin of Cinco De Mayo
So Cinco De Mayo is really the study of freedom against oppression and tyrants, a burgeoning theme in Colonial Williamsburg. The Mexicans defeated a larger French army at El Pubela on May 5th 1862, which was a huge victory for the young nation.
The Battle of El Puebla
A little more background about what is going on that occurred on Cinco De Mayo. The French had invaded Mexico in the 1860s and were squaring off against a smaller weaker Mexican army at the battle of Puebla. The Mexicans overcame the French and defeated them. The defeat occurred on May 5th, 1862.
Many mistake Cinco de Mayo as Mexican Independence Day which is not true. Mexican Independence Day is September 16 but that doesn’t sound as good as Cinco de Mayo. I mean Septiember de diez y seis is a lot to get out in one breath. Just kidding.
Celebrate Cinco De Mayo With Us
Come visit our restaurant to celebrate Sinco Cinco De Mayo in Williamsburg Virginia and enjoy fantastic Latin American food, and incredible drinks. Also try our margaritas and celebrate in style.
See you there
March 9, 2017Read More
Springtime means warm weather and in Mexico it means it is time for the Mexican Food and Wine Festival in late April. The festival features gourmet Mexican food with top regional wines.
One thing that caught my eye was the fact that in the midst of this Springtime festival of fine wine and regional favorites, there is going to be a gourmet taco competition. I do not use the term gourmet lightly. The competition:
- Features a dozen gourmet Mexican chefs
- Costs a $100 to enter
- Will have a vote at the end
I put a clip on this article of the festival that shows the different events of the festival including a past taco competition. It looked incredible.Â I would say it is a very serious competition for an authentic dish.
I am guessing there will be some wide variations due to the creative flair of the chefs and the variety of taco toppings. This could also be attributed as authenticity. While the taco started in one region of Mexico, it quickly found itâ€™s way into the different regions of Mexico. Each region put there own spin on this iconic dish.
Another spin on this dish is it will served with gourmet wines. This idea intrigues me. I have never had to pair wine with tacos. I would imagine it would be a lot of fun to â€śfigureâ€ť out what works. I will go out on limb and guess richer meat like steak or beef would tend to go with light or dark reds. A chicken or fish taco might lean toward the white wine family. Personally I think the taco goes with anything. It is like what vanilla is to ice cream, mix it, merge and it always works.
In a way the taco was made to be adapted. The simple idea of the tortilla with meat and toppings could be adopted to just about anything…and has. In America we have everything from Tex-Mex to fast food tacos which are more of a caricature of Tex-Mex food than the real deal.
Come Enjoy Tacos At Our Mexican Restaurant in Williamsburg, Virginia
If you cannot make it to Mexico which I would imagine many of us will not be leaving The Burg to be at this Festival at the end of April, we offer authentic Mexican and Latin Food at El Sabroson Restaurant on Waller Mill Road. You can get tacos made with:
- Charcoal Chicken
- Pulled Pork
- Pork and Pineapple
- Chorizo(sausage) and Chicken
Take It A Step Further: Mix Other Latin Foods With Mexican
You can also take it a step further and take your own gourmet taco journey at our buffet. Paired with many Mexican food favorites you see in our restaurant, you also have dishes of other Latin American cultures, giving you the ability to customize your own unique taco creations with dishes you will not get anywhere else.