The Day of the Dead

This holiday combines the celebration of the Christian holiday, All Saints’ Day, on November 1st and the ancestral ritual of All Souls’ Day on November 2nd. Ecuador combines this holiday and ritual and celebrates them with the Feast of the Dead.  This celebration is not exclusive to Ecuador, but every country has its own traditions for the celebration.

In Ecuador, flowers and traditional food is brought to cemeteries on November 2nd and families spend time with their departed loved ones. The Day of the Dead and the indigenous rituals represented an opportunity to connect with deceased family ancestors.

The food is prepared to assist loved ones through their journey into the afterlife. Ecuadorians also prepare the favorite dishes of the deceased. This tradition is followed for the first three years after a loved one dies.

There are a few popular foods that most Ecuadorians prepare for the Feast of the Dead.  One such food is the “Guaguas” bread which are a typical sweet treat prepared by the entire family. They are usually made into cute figures such as the shape of a baby, since the word “guaguas” means “baby” in Quichua. In some rural areas, this bread is used as an offering in a ritual that involves a reunion with ancestors.

The Colada morada, is the beverage that accompanies the guaguas bread. It is a syrupy drink that is prepared with black corn flour, pineapple, raspberries, blackberries, and sweet herbs.

Some regions also bring weapons, jewels and other valuable items to the cemeteries. Visitors can be a part of these celebrations at various cemeteries and at open street fairs such as the fair of crafts that takes place in Ambato.

 

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