October 26 marks the start of a seven day tribute—an exuberant, sensual and remarkably life-affirming fiesta for the dead—an annual ritual hosted by Chef Barbara Sibley. Check out the schedule at La Palapa.

La Palapa, has been an East Village, NYC staple for the past 15+ years specializing in “Mexico City Style” tacos and quesadillas, and regional home cooking. (She shared her spectacular recipe for Mole in this issue) The space will be transformed into a Plaza de Muertos with sugar skulls, papel picado decorations and skeletons imported from Mexico. Barbara Sibley, was born and raised in Mexico City, and incorporates her expertise in traditional and rare and Mexican recipes, including ones from 17th Century convent kitchens. (See the schedule of events for 2015 at the end of this post.)

With humor and love, Dia de Los Muertos honors the memory of the loved ones who have gone before us. Despite its spooky name and display of sugar skulls and skeleton dolls, the Mexican Day of the Dead is actually a joyous look at what happens when the door between the spirit world and the physical world opens, when the souls return each year to enjoy the pleasures they once knew in life. In Mexico, it is the most important celebration of the year, especially in rural areas. Each household prepares its offering of food and drink for the dead to be set out, along with candles and flowers.

Make a reservation to participate in La Palapa’s extraordinary feast, with a loved one in mind. The ritual is not about grief and solemnity but about drawing closer through celebration and remembrance. The Dead must see us happy to be at peace. An altar will be set up to receive items for honoring those who have passed. Bring a photo, and in accordance with tradition, any food or drink that most pleased them when they were alive.

LA PALAPA’s resident spirits are W.H. Auden (who lived upstairs for 30 years) and Leon Trotsky (who had his printing workshop in the restaurant space before moving to Mexico with Diego and Frida). This year at LA PALAPA ROCKOLA we will also honor María Félix, La Doña, the diva of Mexican Cinema—her sugar skull will definitely have false eyelashes and big red lips! We will also honor some of our favorite East Village spirits such as Joey Ramone and Jean Michel Basquiat.

October 26 A Limpia (ritual cleansing) with copal incense.
October 27 “La Noche del Aguacate Mexicano” to celebrate Mexico’s “Tree of Life.”
October 28 The traditional day to remember those who have died violent deaths. On this night we make an altar and offering in remembrance to those who died on 9/11 and in Hurricane Katrina.
October 30 The LA PALAPA family ofrenda (altar)… we remember our loved ones.
October 31 Día de Los Angelitos the night we honor “child spirits”. Miniature food and sweets are eaten. Special “Tamalitos Oaxaqueños” ~ And The famous HALLOWEEN PARADE!!!
November 1 Todos Santos (All Saints Day) We make mole and start the celebration with a path of Cempasúchitl (marigold) petals to guide the spirits. A glass of water is placed on the altar to refresh spirits that may “arrive thirsty”.
November 2 Día de Los Muertos Tequila and mezcal are placed on the ofrendas and we feast and drink!

Don’t miss this spectacular opportunity! lapalapa.com

See more recipes and ideas for a Halloween or DD celebration in our 19 Spooky Harvest