Title Graphic

Mexico is a land of memory.

At no time is that better seen than in a unique celebration called Days of the Dead (Dias de los Muertos). The festival is very ancient, Prehispanic, but with Christian overtones. Each year during the last week in October, Mexican communities everywhere begin preparations for this marvelous event. Homes and public places are decorated with symbols of the holiday -- marigolds, skulls and skeletons, and food. For each family, the holiday is a remembrance of a departed loved one. On a larger scale, it is also remembrance of all ancestral Mexicans and of the gifts that they passed on to their descendants, especially food and culture. For Mexicans food is central to their culture, the key to their whole history.

A mourner in the graveyard of Acatalán, Puebla.

Masked Dancer
Young boy wearing a "Piltes" mask for the "Dance of the Santiagos".

Food for the Ancestors is a culinary-history exploration of Days of the Dead, Mexican traditions and ancient ways of life that still exist there. All of these seen through Mexican cuisine. The program is set in the state of Puebla because it is also a place where the contrasts between new and old are vividly seen. Puebla, also, might be Mexico's greatest culinary state, for it was here that the greatest of all Mexican dishes was born, mole poblano. It's also a place where some of the most ancient prehispanic foods are still eaten --- insects such as the much beloved chapulines (grasshoppers).


The animation at the head of the program is based on a print by Nicolás de Jesús. He also is the artist who created the skeleton eating the watermelon.

View our animated open using Real Player.

Waistloom weaver from
San Miguel, Puebla.

Lesson Plans

Middle School Lesson Plan: Discovering the Foods of Mexico

High School Lesson Plan 1: Two Worlds Meet-The Spanish Conquest of Mexico

High School Lesson Plan 2: A Cultural Journey Through the Mexican State of Puebla.


Content by: Food For Thought Productions, (Chicago) Inc. © 2000