Oyamel’s Day of the Dead Celebration:

The Mexican Day of the Dead or “Dia de los Muertos” celebration is held annually in the beginning of November, with festivals lasting from the evening of Oct. 31 through All Souls Day on Nov. 2. The delicious Mexican fare found at Oyamel is a perfect outlet for carrying on such a tradition, and Washington D.C. residents will be treated to their 2011 Day of the Dead festival lasting from Oct. 17 to Nov. 2.

An entire menu of specialty dishes and beverages will be available during this time, all of which are painstakingly authentic, and based specifically from the Mexican state of Michoacan. Michoacan, known as a land of lakes, a harvest region, and also the soul of Mexico, is home to the Oyamel fir forests where Monarch butterflies migrate. Below, find a sampling of Oyamel’s limited-time menu items for their Day of the Dead festival, other notes from their celebration, and the facts that inspired them.

* Oyamel is honoring the first bishop of Michoacan with their 2011 Day of the Dead festival, Vasco de Quiroga, who successfully imparted Utopian ideals in the region

* A traditional belief in Mexico is that Monarch butterflies are the souls of their departed loved ones returning home. Floating candle decorations found throughout the restaurant honor the lakes in the region, as well as the Monarch butterflies.

* Harvest Moon: An alcoholic drink with mezcal paying homage to the fall harvests of Michoacan, featuring a grilled corn husk, as well as tropical fruit from the region such as pineapple, and mini flower petals which not only add aroma to the drink but also resemble Monarch butterfly wings.

* Jarritos: A mezcal beverage mixed with a house-made blend of juices and flavors, and featuring fruits and vegetables from Michoacan, including pineapple, jicama and orange, as well as some kick provided by chile pequin seasoning.

* Sopa de Calabasa con Chicharron: A perfect fall soup, dark orange in color thanks to the butternut squash base, but with a very light and smooth texture, flavored by unique Mexican cinnamon and habanero chile providing some kick. Topped off with freshly made crispy chicharron, fried pork rinds.

* Tortitas de papa con Hoja Santa: Traditional potato fritters filled with Chihuahua cheese, and topped with hoja santa and tomatillo salsa. Recipe based on traditional tortitas de papa found at local markets in the Michoacan region.

* Tostada de Apatzingan: A crispy mini tostada with local pulled pork, a traditional Michoacan tomato sauce and classic Mexican toppings such as black beans and queso fresco.

* Champurrado: No celebration is complete without desert, and this specialty is a warm Mexican chocolate with a homemade masa ice cream, featuring mezcal soaked raisins, caramelized popcorn and other delights. The perfect adult “Treat” to end a meal.

This article was first published by Jake Emen on Yahoo! News on October 13, 2011.