In Ecuador, every November 2nd is a national holiday. This is the day that cemeteries are decorated with crosses, crowns and flowers. This is done to immortalize loved ones that have passed away to eternal life. This is the day that the ones that pray meet with the ones that have already met death.
On the days leading up to Día de los Difuntos, Ecuadorian families clean their loved ones’ coffins so when the day comes they can fill their day with prayers for them or share customs that the loved one used to do when he or she was alive.
Lastly, in remembrance of this day, people make colada morada and traditional guagas de pan. On this holiday in November, families get together to visit the loved ones that have passed.
Fun Fact: Colada morada is a traditional Ecuadorian beverage prepared with black corn flour and fruits such as naranjilla, babaco, pineapple, blackberries, strawberries, and blueberries
Fun Fact 2: Guagas de pan also known as T’anta wawa is a type of sweet roll shaped and decorated in the form of a small child or infant. They are generally made of wheat and sometimes contain a sweet filling.
I checked in with some of our educators and staff in Ecuador to see how they and their families spend Día de los Difuntos.
Jessica Párraga says, “Each November 2nd, my family usually gets together in the morning at the Gardens of Hope Cemetery to visit our family members that have passed away. In the afternoon, the entire family goes to one of my uncles’ houses to have lunch, and play secret Santa which is another one of our traditions that lets us get together again for Christmas…For us, the Day of the Dead is a holiday where my entire family gets to be together.
William Segura says, “It is an incredible holiday!”
He continues, “In my opinion, the November holiday is one of the most fun, along with Carnival. My entire family gets together to share experiences and make delicious food, which is the most representative thing about this holiday. The food is delicious because it incorporates fruits from the mountain, flours, and more. During Día de los Difuntos, many families take advantage to visit their loved ones. My family is no exception. I have relatives spread throughout the country and every holiday I get to go to a different place.
What I love the most about this holiday is eating guaguas de pan, which are little dolls made of bread – and they taste great! – with colada morada made of pineapple, mango and citrus fruits.”
It was lovely getting to learn more about this extra special holiday in Ecuador and experiencing some of our staffs’ family traditions. I thank Jessica and William for sharing their stories with me.