Like all countries, there are Mexican food traditions, which are unique to the country. Food, after all, is an important part of any country’s culture and Mexico is certainly no exception. There are Mexican food customs, which are attached to certain holidays and other occasions, with special dishes being cooked on these days.
Mexican Holidays Recipes and Typical Mexican Food
Perhaps the best known of Mexican holidays is Cinco de Mayo. This celebration on May 5th every year is commonly thought to be Mexico’s Independence Day holiday. As it happens, the holiday was declared not to celebrate Mexican independence from Spain, but the victory of the Mexican army over the French in 1862 at Puebla.
Outside of the state of Puebla, the holiday is a minor one – though there are some special Cinco de Mayo dishes, which are served on this day, especially in Puebla. This state is the region of Mexico where mole, an important ingredient in many traditional Mexican recipes was developed; and this is a popular sauce nationwide.
One traditional Cinco de Mayo recipe often made in Puebla for this holiday is turkey cooked in a mole sauce. This would be mole poblano in particular (the name means “Puebla-style mole”), a rich, nutty and spicy sauce which is worth every bit of the considerable time and effort needed to make it. Turkey is a popular food in Puebla and in fact, in much of the country. Turkey shows up not only here, but also in many Mexican recipes, even some of Mexico’s other special holiday dishes.
Religious Holidays Including Christmas And Others
As a largely Catholic nation, Mexico celebrates Christmas and other religious holidays with aplomb; and when it comes to celebrating with food, Mexican food traditions are second to none! On Christmas morning in Mexico, families and friends hold “posadas,” a traditional Christmas morning party.
On this occasion, you will often find traditional dishes served such as mashed potatoes with cranberry and chili relish, rather than the gravy you would find at the table in the US. Punch is also traditionally served at a posada, as are other dishes including turkey soup and codfish. A piata is also a traditional (and very festive) addition to the Christmas day festivities in Mexico.
The feast of Epiphany is another holiday with its own special Mexican food traditions. The traditional Spanish ring cake has been enthusiastically adopted into Mexican Epiphany celebrations, along with the new world treat of hot chocolate as an addition.
Naturally, we cannot talk about Mexican food culture without a few words about Dia de los Muertos. This is how Mexico celebrates All Saints Day. On “the day of the dead,” there are special holiday sweets which are eaten. These include dulce de calabasa, a candy made from pumpkin and pan de muerto. Pan de muerto is a bread, which is glazed and decorated with colored sugar, and smaller pieces of bread shaped like bones.
However, sugar skulls are without a doubt the best known of Mexico’s food traditions surrounding the day of the dead. These are skull shaped candies, which are made by pressing sugar into a mold. These candies are often decorated with great care, making for a holiday treat, which is so beautifully decorated that you may not want to eat them!
The food traditions of every nation reflect their unique culture, something which Mexican food traditions certainly do. The country’s amalgam of new world and old world ingredients, recipes and cooking methods have resulted in a culture – and a set of traditional foods which are an integral part of Mexican life and culture.