The most important holiday in the Christian calendar is Easter, celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ; this year, Easter Sunday for Roman Catholic and Protestant churches is April 4, which does not coincide with the Orthodox church date this year (May 2.) I still remember my first Easter Sunday in Canada, back in the late 1980s, as a grad student (insert music for flashback here) … I was eager to attend the Sunday service at the Catholic church across from campus, and learn about traditions in this new-to-me country. Armed with my issue of “Canadian Living” – the go-to magazine for all things Canadian, at the time – I also found a recipe for hot-cross buns, and baked a batch to enjoy after church; they turned out a little dense, but still with a nice crumb. I was surprised that the next day was a holiday, as well, marked on the calendar as “Easter Monday”. On Tuesday, back at school, I proudly told my officemates that I had baked authentic Canadian hot-cross buns, and all of them, mostly Canadian students, had no idea that was “a thing” for Easter; they told me that usually a turkey or ham lunch, and an egg hunt, were the regular fare. I was in awe, since neither turkey (native to the American Continent) nor ham (made with pork) would have existed on a Christian table until relatively modern times, and … An egg hunt??? “Yes”, they replied, “the Easter Bunny lays the eggs, and kids try to find as many as they can!” Ok, I am not going to get into details on the history of Pagan spring traditions, but suffice to say that it sounded strange to me … Fast forward to the 1990s, when I have widened my horizons and tried roasted lamb and tsoureki (Greek Easter bread) at my in-laws home in Toronto, and into the 21st Century, when my daughters went to school, and we joined our neighbourhood Anglican congregation, hence becoming accustomed to a ham or turkey meal (as pictured at the top of this post), decorating hard-boiled eggs (as shown below), and yes, even having a hunt for eggs (the chocolate kind, and please note that they were purchased by me, not provided by the Easter Bunny, LOL).
Over time, I have realized that in Mexico, Easter is observed and celebrated more as part of the Holy Week, not so much as a single day, so special dishes might be cooked before, and leading to, Easter Sunday (Domingo de Pascua, in Spanish). In addition, many families, especially in Mexico City, seek to go to the beach, so they would spend the holidays away from home, simply eating lots of fish and seafood. So this brings about the question, What do Mexican families eat for Easter? I asked some of my friends and relatives; just a couple of them said they do remember eggs, either decorated hard-boiled, or in chocolate egg hunts, especially in Northern states, such as Nuevo León, close to the American border, as well as Sanborns™ (a restaurant and gift shop chain) selling fancy chocolate and marshmallow eggs during the season. Others mentioned attending processions or native ceremonial dance performances but, in terms of food, maybe just fish being favoured throughout Lent and Holy Week, or nothing special at all. Finally, others gave the following responses (click on highlighted text for my full stories and recipes):
In Central Mexico, especially in Mexico City, it is very traditional to cook Revoltijo (Mexican patties and vegetables in red mole sauce) and Bacalao de Cuaresma (Lent Cod) during Holy week, and continue reheating and eating leftovers, sometimes inside a bun, such as in tortas (Mexican sandwiches):
Lime/lemon pie and chongos (a milk-based dessert) were some of the sweet dishes included, with the most frequently mentioned being Capirotada (my mother’s favourite), a bread pudding with cheese, raisins and raw-sugar syrup:
As I mentioned, fish and seafood are the norm; I am allergic to crustaceans (lobster, crab, shrimp), but I have shared some nice recipes with fish fillets, such as al mojo de ajo – in garlic sauce (photo below, left), or en chile limón – in chile-lime sauce (photo below, right):
And finally, other dishes that might be consumed any time during the year, but were highlighted as favourites for the Easter season by some of my friends, were Carnitas (photo below, left, in tacos), huauzontle patties in pasilla sauce (shown below, centre, with tomatillo sauce), and stuffed poblano peppers with caldillo (with cheese and “brothy” tomato sauce, photo below, right):
Do you celebrate Easter or other special holidays during spring time? What special food do you remember as traditional?
At the top of this post: An example of an Easter meal at my home in Southern Ontario, featuring roasted turkey, garlicky baby potatoes, and a party favourite in Mexico (probably also Easter Bunny approved, LOL), sweet carrot salad; stay tuned for the recipe, in my next post.
I am sharing my recipe at Thursday Favourite Things #483, with Bev @ Eclectic Red Barn, Pam @ An Artful Mom, Katherine @ Katherine’s Corner, Amber @ Follow the Yellow Brick Home, Theresa @ Shoestring Elegance and Linda @ Crafts a la Mode.