Spending the holidays away from home is a wonderful way to introduce new traditions and holiday surprises for the entire family. This experience lets you immerse yourself whole heatedly in a new culture and try on new holiday traditions. Easter in Mexico is celebrated very differently from the North American Easter Bunny holiday. There are some super fun cultural traditions that both kids and adults will love!
Easter in Mexico is the biggest high holiday of the year! Celebrations last for two weeks. Semana Santa falls starts on Palm Sunday and ends Easter Saturday. Pascua picks up on Easter Sunday and continues to the following Saturday. Now that is a celebration, unlike the 4 day weekend in the north.
Pull out your egg decorating kit and confetti! Cascarones are the quintessential Mexican Easter tradition that brings each participant good luck! This craft is fun, easy, and can be done right in your vacation villa. To prepare you Cascarones, prick a small hole in the top and bottom of your eggs. Blow out the egg yolk and whites into a bowl. Let the eggs stand for day so their insides are completely dry. Decorate the egg shell with your egg coloring kit, and then create a larger hole (carefully) in the bottom of the egg, about the size of a penny. Fill the egg with confetti and close the hole with craft tape (or in our case we use duct tape, LOL) so the confetti is contained inside the egg. We have also seen eggs decorated with paper mache using tissue paper. This too is an easy way to seal and decorate your eggs if you do not have an egg dye kit.
On Easter weekend, Easter Sunday morning being the best time, each person cracks a confetti egg over the head of family member. If the confetti falls all over your head, you will have a great year! (Note, dry your eggs well so that each person will have good luck!) This is a fun way to celebrate a traditional Easter Sunday without all the chocolate and candy in traditional US Easter celebrations.
This recipe was introduced into Mexico after the Spanish Conquest. I love the symbolism of each ingredient used in this dish. The dish is made and eaten as a reminder of the suffering of Christ on the cross. The bread represents the Body of Christ, the syrup (heated sugar)is his blood, the cloves are the nails on the cross, the cinnamon sticks symbolize the wooden cross, and the melted cheese stands for the Holy Shroud.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Cut rolls or baguette in ½ inch slices and butter both sides, layer on a baking sheet and bake for 3 minutes on each side, until lightly toasted and dry. Remove and cool. If you are using an old baguette just butter both sides of the bread.
Combine water, brown sugar or piloncillo, cinnamon sticks, and cloves in a large saucepan. Bring to a boil so that the sugar syrup slightly boils and then reduce the heat. Simmer the syrup uncovered for 20 minutes. Remove from heat and leave the syrup covered for 2 hours. Once the 2hours is done, pour the syrup through a strainer and discard cinnamon sticks and cloves. Set syrup aside. This process can be done a day in advance but keep syrup at room temperature over night.
Spray 8 x 10 ½” baking dish with non-stick spray, layer ingredients in the following order: a third of the bread, third of the raisins, third of the cheese, and 1 1/2 cups syrup poured evenly over cheese. Create to more layers placing the ingredients in the same order as above. Let the dish sit for an hour before putting it into the oven. Cover the dish with aluminum foil that has been sprayed with nonstick spray and bake 40 minutes. Uncover and bake the bread pudding until cheese is golden brown for an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Serve warm and with ice cream if you wish.
Note: you can add chocolate, apples, pears, m and m’s or colored sprinkles to this recipe if you wish. I love apples in mine, but many of our friends like to add chocolate making this a Mexican/US dish.
Take advantage of a cultural experience on your Easter vacation in the Riviera Maya. Check out these great vacation villas that will immerse you in everything Riviera Maya.