Begins a long holiday in Ecuador and I wanted to start writing about the traditions that there are here where I live, on November 2 every year we celebrate the day of the dead.
It is a tradition throughout Ecuador to drink colada Morada, it’s a drink made from purple maize and fruit of your choice such as plum, pineapple, peaches, strawberries, raisins plus some leaves they will give a distinctive flavor. In my case, I like just ripe plum and pineapple.
The origin of this traditional drink is thousands of years ago where according to the indigenous worldview between October and November.
It begins with the sowing that marks a rebirth and ends with the harvest that marks death. Every year is a new cycle of life. For this reason, these cycles are related to the lives of deceased loved ones. To celebrate his life and death, and a new beginning, these rituals were carried out by taking fruits with Andean aromas to the graves and drinking llama blood, a sacred animal for those communities.
Through cultural and culinary syncretism, colada Morada emerges as a symbol of the elements of forbidden indigenous rituals. The drink incorporates elements from past rituals: fruits and aromas (once offered to the dead) and the red color that purple corn gives during cooking (representing llama blood).
What is now known as “guagua de pan” or “pan de muerto” is a representation of the deceased wrapped in a blanket.
The bread of the dead has the shape of a person or animal, this bread is only made at this time and has a very distinctive anise flavor.
In the highlands, people decorate it with colors giving it the characteristic of a person, on the coast, you cannot find decorated.
I have seen several ways to celebrate the Day of the Dead in Ecuador but a very unique tradition is being done here in the Santa Elena Peninsula, where the mesa de muerto is set.
This table is unique for each family because the food that is set in this day is the favorite of the person who died, and as we are on the coast this table is of seafood, colada Morada, beer, or the drink that the dead people liked. This is an altar for the deceased person, photography and a candle is placed on the table, the candle is lit at dawn for the deceased to eat foods that have been prepared.
During the day, people come to these homes that have set the table and serve them the food that they have prepared for that day, anyone can enter homes to taste these foods. This year I was in Atahualpa that is located 20 minutes from La Libertad (La Hueca). You can arrive in two ways, the first by the road that goes to Guayaquil and you can find a detour to Atahualpa or the other way Is taking the path that takes us to Punta Carnero, Ancon and Anconcito, so we arrived at Atahualpa.
Atahualpa is characterized by being called the capital of furniture, It has been developed here the best furniture industry, with good wood, durable and good prices, everything you want to develop wood here they can do.
I arrived with my friends at the house of a mutual friend Eduardo Suarez, he attended us in the house of his parents where he celebrates every year this event, el Muerteo is a typical action where you going eat this food from house to house, in this case, we ate ceviche of shrimp, fritada and fruit salad as a drink in another house we went to eat seco de chivo.
In fact, that people are very friendly in these villages but it is always better to go with someone who knows where they set the tables to keep so long and be well attended, otherwise you have to go and meet these traditions that we are recovering.