I’m not going to write a comprehensive entry trying to explain the Guatemalan Day of the Dead, because I know I’d leave out plenty of important details. Hence, I’m mostly just going to talk a little bit about fiambre:
This is what some Guatemalans eat on Dia De Los Muertos. It’s a salad. Yes, the picture is slightly out of focus. Anyway, to borrow the words of my friend Carmen, most Guatemalans do three things on Dia De Los Muertos:
1. Eat salad
2. Go to the cemetery
3. Fly kites
I only got to do parts 1 & 2, but I’m thrilled to have tried the salad (fiambre), which is a Conquistador throwback that comes out really expensive; it’s a “kitchen sink” of various ingredients. Mine had…artichoke hearts, radishes, lettuce, regular corn, baby corn, chicken, olives, three types of sausage, two types of cheese, pacaya (a local flower), hard boiled egg, beets, and I’m sure there was other stuff I’m forgetting. My new host mom hinted not-so-subtly that the ingredients cost 600 quetzals, or $70, which is pretty much an astronomical figure to spend on one meal in this country (so I bought 6 liters of soda to share)
Fiambre is tasty! The whole thing is seasoned with vinegar and stained purple due to the beets. I would definitely eat it again.
We also went to the cemetery to lay flowers at the mausoleum of my absent host father, who passed away around 10 years ago.
My host momma is already talking about how there’s a spot all ready for her; there seems to be a lot less anxiety about death in this culture. The whole community hangs out at the cemetery during the Dia De Los Muertos, it’s like a country fair down at the graveyard. Good times!
And here’s an awesome sunset from my backyard: