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Oaxaca's Most Magical Holiday

series: Mexico -- One Plate At A Time With Rick Bayless

air date: 1/21/14 12:30 PM

Rick takes us on a remarkable journey through Oaxaca City during the revered Dia de Los Muertos (Day of the Dead) holiday. We discover that in Mexico, death is embraced as part of the circle of life. During the holiday, people welcome home the spirits of their ancestors who come to commune with their families and friends. Like all visitors, the ancestors are welcomed with food, drink, music and memories. The spirit's presence is a blessing and brings joy to loved ones. In preparation for the celebration, the last days of October are spent preparing aromatic loaves of pan de muerto (sweet bread), making mole, harvesting special flowers, including marigolds (cempasuchil) and creating commemorative altars in homes. Grave sites are decorated with elaborate sand paintings. The bustling Central de Abastos market in Oaxaca is overflowing with flowers and bread. At the home of Rick's friends, we learn to make Andres' family's black mole, tostadas topped with avocado leaf-infused black beans, a classic, smoky Oaxacan salsa and a simple guacamole. From the Panteon General to Xoxocotlan's Municipal Cemetery, Rick gives us an insider's look at the annual fiesta that richly blends Catholic and indigenous traditions with celebratory food.

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