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Sunday, November 2, 2014

Ecuador's Andean All Souls' Day Tradition

Dear Family and Friends.

November 2nd is called All Souls' Day here in Ecuador.  It is observed to some extent by all parts of society, but is especially important to the indigenous peoples of the Andes.  Families gather together in the cemetery with offerings of food for a day-long remembrance of their ancestors and lost loved ones. Ceremonial foods include colada morada and guagua pan.

Colada morada is a beverage prepared with purple corn flour and small pieces of fruit including the Andean blackberry which gives it it's color.  It is prepared with cinnamon, allspice and cloves and other herbs.

It has a color of blood...I do not know if there is a symbolic link between this drink and blood, but I wonder.

Guagua pan is a type of sweet roll shaped like a small child or baby.  They are decorated with icing and sometimes have a sweet filling.  Guagua is the indigenous word for "baby."  It is pronounced "wa-wa."  The origin of this sweet bread is here in Ecuador.

A few days before this holiday you will see restaurants and venders offering this duo of ceremonial food and drink.  Friday, I came across a plaza where culinary students were serving Colada Morada and Guagua Pan.

I browsed, tasted and learned about this tradition.  Here are some pictures.

This is the sign that caught my attention.

The colada morada was poured by the cup or into quart size containers.  People were buying it in the larger containers to take with them.  I suppose buying it ready made is easier than making it at home.

Here is a sample that was offered to me.  You can see the fruit floating in it.  Since it is made with flour, it was a thick drink.  Very good taste of fruit and spices.

Here is the guagua pan.  I didn't taste one but according to what I have read, the bread is sweet.

Here is a culinary student offering this traditional combination to a couple dressed in indigenous dress.

This is just one of the cultural traditions that makes living in Ecuador interesting.



  1. Nice post Nancy! Looks tasty and healthy.

    1. Peter, It is tasty, I don't know how healthy. Quite a bit of sugar. But I love customs....I was raised in Georgia and we HAD to eat black eye peas on New Year's Day.


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