Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Dia de los Difuntos

The best day of school, ever!

The Todos los Santos y Día de los Difuntos (All Saints and Day of the Dead) is a religious holiday that takes place during the first few days of November every year. Ecuadorian families visit the gravesites of their ancestors and bring offerings of food, flowers, drinks, and prayers. It is a day set aside to remember departed family members. Families gather in large numbers in the town cemeteries and consume guaguas de pan (decorated bread dolls) and colada morada (a sweet drink (served hot) made from cinnamon, cloves, blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, pineapple and other fruit in corn flour base).  While there, they pay respect to their departed family members but also socialize with the families around them.

Dia de los Difuntos in Otavalo

While we didn't visit a cemetery today, we have been lucky enough to receive invites to make/eat guaguas de pan and colada morada three times during the last week. Both are absolutely delicious and each occasion has been one to remember. 

Our first invite was to join a local Ecuadorian family in their home for dinner and guaguas de pan/colada morada (pictures coming soon, hopefully). The Valdivieso family was so very warm, welcoming and full of laughter. The mom, Piedad, had one of biggest smiles and infectious laughs ever. It was quite an honor to be invited to their home and share an amazing meal with them. We ended the night by making bread and playing a few rounds of cards before kissing everyone goodbye. Thank you Valdiviesos! 

We were also invited to share the colada morada that was made by the Montango family, who owns and runs our hostal. They are a family of four siblings from Otavalo (where we visited on Saturday). They made the delicious drink here at our hostal and we were able to peek in on the process. The Montango siblings are a fantastic group of people who have made our transition into Ecuador such a pleasure.

Colada morada on our stovetop at Otavalo Huasi II

Yesterday, we were presented with guaguas/colada morada at our Spanish school. We also learned a good bit about the history of Dia de los Difuntos. It was great to hang out and chat with the other students while enjoying our sweet treats. There was even a bit left over, which we happily finished off during our break today.

Guaguas de pan at Yanapuma Spanish school 

Our fellow students at Yanapuma Spanish school

It has been a pretty sweet week (pun intended)!


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