Mexican restaurant celebrates Day of the Dead

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 10 November 2014 at 12:00 am

Photos by Tom Rivers – Edgar Rosario has his face painted for today’s Dia de Los Muertos/Todos Los Santos celebration at Mariachi de Oro Mexican Grill, a restaurant where his father Francisco Rosario is co-owner. Edgar is pictured near murals inside the restaurant near the bar.

MEDINA – It was a huge smorgasbord of food – chocolate, candy, bread, fruit and much more. The display included flowers and gifts, and it gave off a rich and sweet smell.

The Rosario family believes some of their late relatives came to visit for the annual Day of the Dead/All Saints Day, a 30-day tradition in the Mexican culture where families honor their dead. Their souls are believed to come home and take in the aromas during the celebration.

For the first time, the Rosario family, owners of Mariachi de Oro Mexican Grill in Medina, welcomed the community to be a part of an important cultural tradition in Mexico.

“Having this restaurant we’re able to share traditional foods,” said Leonel Rosario, co-owner of Mariachi de Oro. “We wanted to share more of our culture with the community.”

Leonel Rosario and his wife Dolores Alvarado perform The Hat Dance, a traditional Mexican folk dance tonight at The Day of the Dead festivities.

Three years ago Leonel Rosario and his family opened Mariachi de Oro Mexican Grill on Maple Ridge Road in Medina. The Rosarios are thankful the community has supported the business.

The Rosarios created an altar of food and flowers at the restaurant today. Rosario told about 50 people at Mariachi de Oro about the popular tradition in Mexico. When he grew up in Oaxaca, he would visit a cemetery with his family, and spend much of the night with candles, flowers and tending to relatives’ graves.

The waitresses at Mariachi de Oro Mexican Grill have their faces painted and they are wearing traditional blouses and dresses from Oaxaca in Mexico, where the Rosario family is from. The waitresses include, from left: Ashley Vandegenachte, Amber Perez, Dolores Alvarado, Elysa Rodriguez and Yasmin Gutierrez.

In the morning, families would gather at their homes for a tradition that is bigger than Christmas for many Mexicans.

“We believe in old traditions, old cultures from the State of Oaxaca,” Rosario told a group tonight at the restaurant. “We want to keep the tradition going. Some day I will come visit my kids’ houses (after I die).”

The Rosarios served cooked grasshoppers, soup, chicken mole, tamales and dessert. They also shared traditional dances and music with the crowd.

Francisco Rosario, right, plays the accordion and Pablo Rosario plays the guitar during The Day of the Dead celebration at Mariachi de Oro.

“It’s good to see young people keeping their culture alive,” said Scott Galliford of Clarendon. He attended the celebration with his wife, Christine Hunt.

They have visited Mexico for The Day of Dead in Oaxaca. Galliford said it is a fun time to be in the country, partaking in the food and music. He said he is grateful the Rosarios opened up the celebration to the community.

An altar of flowers and food was prepared for the Day of the Dead/All Saints Day.