Tuesday, November 02, 2010

The day of the dead

Today (Nov 2) is Dia del Difuntos in Ecuador. It's a national holiday. The tradition is to visit tombs and bring colada morada (hot spiced fruity drink) and guagua (bread) to share with the deceased. This tradition is almost identical to Qingming in China, except the food is different.

Weeks before, seems like every bakery/cafe starts to sell these special offerings. The locals enjoy them in the cafes and buy sacks of guagua to take home. In the cities, people no longer take food and drink to graves, only flowers, something we read and observed first hand.

We tried guagua and colada morada at La Union bakery and pastry shop.
Guagua and Colada Morada - Quito, Ecuador

Both 11/2 and 11/3 are national holidays and very few things are open. We went to the Quito Botanical Garden and the cemetery at Igelsia de San Gabriel. This trip we always seem to be visiting the obligatory cemeteries. Normally I do not mind visiting cemeteries. But these cemeteries have very closely clustered above-ground vaults. I walk through them as fast as I can. John doesn't mind as they are good photo ops.

The Cementerio at Igelsia de San Gabriel - lots of vaults. There was a steady stream of folks stopping in to pay respects, leave flowers, and spruce up the tombs.
Cementerio Igelsia de San Gabriel - Quito, Ecuador

Guagua display at Mall El Jardin. The mall was open on Nov 2 and doing brisk business.

The Mall - Quito, Ecuador

Sun-Ling among the huge calla lilies at the Botanic Gardens.

Botanical Garden - Quito, Ecuador

Hanging carnivorous plants in the greenhouse.
Botanical Garden - Quito, Ecuador


Dayle in NC said...

Thanks for writing about Dia del Difuntos -- I've wondered about it in Ecuador. Interesting to see the guagua cookies(?) and display in the mall -- sort of like gingerbread men??? But these would be babies, right? I remember that "guagua" (wah-wah) is an indigenous word for baby -- perhaps because a baby says wah-wah. :-) Were they as tasty as they look? PS. I really don't remember many words in Quecha, but because this one is so obvious, I think it stuck with me.

¡Me encanta el blog de ustedes!

Que les vaya bien!

Sun-Ling said...

@Dayle, we did put up this entry per your previous request. The guaguas are breads. The good ones have a fruity filling. Wawa is the same in Chinese. Some coincidence :)