In the ‘Pynck’ at the Day of the Dead Festival in Picaderos Maynooth, County Kildare
IN the land where the festival of Samhain was invented, Halloween seems to come and go in the blink of an eye, the trick-or-treaters, the fireworks, the bonfires. Although little known on this side of the world, there is a way to extend the fun for at least two more days and nights, and that is to find a Day of the Dead Festival.
Picaderos in Maynooth, County Kildare has consistently celebrated the centuries-old festival, every November 1 st no matter what the weather is doing outside of the Purple Flag town’s restaurant. The place is packed with people, drinking Margaritas and scoffing down Chimichangas, Tacos de Carne and Chilli Churros, to name just a few of the items on the menu.
Far from being the night where the veil between the living and the dead is thin, and one to be entered with a certain amount of trepidation, the Day of the Dead, celebrated in Mexico and parts of South America is a time when the living embrace their dead relatives. They do it with food and flowers, marigolds in particular while inviting the dead to celebrate from 31 st October until 2nd November.
There was food, flowers, candles and live music on this Day of the Dead celebration at Picaderos where the menu is always about the food of Argentina, Mexico and Spain, a short leap to an occasion for a festival, in other words, but with all of the staff dressed up in traditional colourful costumes, complete with painted faces, it was a night to remember in spite of consuming too many of those delicious Margaritas. “Our pagan ritual is to celebrate All Hallows Eve, which is the eve of the Day of the Dead so they are both connected,” said restaurant manager Martin McMahon. “In Mexico and South America the people have a massive connection with their dead and they very much believe in the afterlife, so we are embracing it because of our food connection.”
Cultural traditions tend to migrate from one place to another and while the Irish brought Halloween to America, the Americas have returned the favour with good food and drink, live entertainment and reason to celebrate with our deceased loved ones.