Ecuador Dia de los Difuntos, a Day of the Dead type celebration in Ecuador.

Published on October 19th, 2014 | by admin

Dia de los Difuntos, a Day of the Dead type celebration in Ecuador.

Reunion in the Cemetery: All Souls Day in Ecuador

While princess and hobo costumes, trick or treating, and the telling of spooky stories are the hallmarks of Halloween, the Festivals of the Dead, which form the roots of this very American holiday, are an important part of many cultures around the world and are celebrated differently in each country. In Ecuador, “Dia de los Difuntos” (All Souls Day) is celebrated on November 2nd with unique fusions of old and new traditions.

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Most Ecuadorians visit the memorial parks to honor the departed, keeping an old pagan tradition of decorating the tombs with images and objects and taking along the favorite food dishes to share with their loved ones by their graves, while wearing their best outfits. As they share food on an elaborate tablecloth setting in the cemetery, Ecuadorians speak about the latest family news, share memories, pray as well as ask for advice, help and protection.

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The typical food served on All Souls Day is “guaguas de pan,” which are bread figurines in the shape of babies decorated with colorful toppings accompanied by a purple beverage called “colada morada,” symbolizing the grief and the blood of the deceased. The ingredients used for the guaguas de pan and colada morada varies around the country’s different regions.

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The colada morada was referred to as “black porridge” in the Andean pre-Hispanic times and was made from fruits like mortiño (sort of cranberry growing in the moors) and sangorache (black fermented corn); over the years and with the introduction of Hispanic customs, the drink has elaborated to include ishpingo (flower of cinnamon), bayberry leaves, strawberries and blackberries. On the coast, the beverage is also served with fruits such as pineapple.

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The guaguas de pan originated after the introduction of wheat flour by the Spanish and was initially known as “pan de muerto” (bread of the dead). Over the years, the guaguas de pan have developed different shapes and decorations made with sugar paste colors. Today, the typical bread can be found with several fillings: chocolate, marmalade, whipped cream, dulce de leche and many other surprises.
Both the colada morada and guaguas de pan have become a popular seasonal favorite in Ecuador and are available in every bakery and restaurant during Souls Day season, between October and early November of each year.

More information about Ecuador: http://ecuador.travel/en

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