Very early in October, all over the country, bakeries offer the delicious Pan de Muerto, Day of the Dead bread, made with flour, butter, sugar, eggs, orange peel, anise, and yeast. The bread is adorned with strips of dough simulating bones and at the top a small round piece of dough that symbolizes teardrops. These bread are placed on the altars or ofrendas and taken to the graveyard’s tombs.

Pan de Muerto ~ Day of the Dead Bread

Another traditional dish prepared for the celebration is the tasty Calabaza en Tacha, Sweet Pumpkin, a dessert prepared with pumpkin, cinnamon, and piloncillo, dark sugar cones.

Janitzio is one of the islands on lake Patzcuaro, with 1,500 inhabitants. Little white houses all with red tile roofs crowd the island, and at the summit, the stone statue of one of the fathers of Mexico’s Independence, José María Morelos, dominates the view.

To get to the island it is necessary to take launches that constantly go to and fro Janitzio, carrying and bringing passengers, food, flowers, and merchandise.

There is no busier time for the boats than on the days of the dead.

On the eve of El Día de Muertos, the boats are loaded with people that are very busy taking the flowers and essential articles for the celebrations.

The island is dressed up with beauty and mysticism!

Janitzio Island

Janitzio Island

On the lake, one can also see the fishermen with their traditional nets that grace the view. They are called Butterfly Nets. Watching the fishermen go out in groups is a bewitching spectacle, particularly during the early hours of the morning, with the mist and the calming stillness of the lake. The people of Janitzio have conserved this form of fishing, as well as other millenarian customs and traditions that are part of the enchantment of this island. Especially distinctive is the way in which the women dress, and their methods of cooking.