The celebration of Xantolo, in the Huasteca of Hidalgo has become a rite enriched by a series of ceremonies. The first offerings are prepared on September 29th, during the Festival of San Miguel (Saint Michael). It is believed that San Pedro (Saint Peter) opens heaven’s doors so that the souls may leave and begin to receive their first offerings, which are tamales and coffee.
The second offering is prepared on October 18th, San Lucas Day (Saint Luke). On this day, they harvest the bananas early so that they are ripe by the day of the celebration. On this date people clean and paint their homes; the cacao beans are ground to make chocolate; and paper flowers are created for the altars. In addition, tamales are also prepared in advance to taste the seasoning and check the quality of the corn because the Xantolo tamale ‘is not just any tamale.’
The third offering is made on November 2nd, when the biggest celebration takes place. The last offerings of tamales are prepared and the arch is demolished the day of San Andres, which is on November 30th. The dried cempoalxochitl flowers are carefully collected because they will be used the following year to scatter on the furrows. The residents of some towns like
to go to the cemetery that same morning. They take their offerings of food so that they can properly bid farewell to the souls of their loved ones until the next year.
When the arch is already covered by palmilla leaves and flowers, the altar is set on a table. The tablecloth might have cross-stitched decorations or an embroidered image of the Virgin Mary. The Chililico crafts are also painted in vibrant colors for this celebration. Traditional dishes prepared as offerings include; hot chocolate, round, plump, and delicious homemade bread whose dough is prepared with pork fat, turkey mole, adobo, pipian, and stuffed chili peppers. Tamales called tlapepecholi, tapataxtli or tlaixpiktle, can feed several people and are served with a side of pickled chili peppers.