Dia de los Difuntos or the Day of the Deceased is more than just a holiday in Ecuador, it’s a celebration that has turned into a season rich with culture and tradition. Dating back thousands of years, many cultures of Central & South American heritage have incorporated this day of remembrance, also known as Dia de los Muertos, into their lives. Present day, the celebratory season has become the most meaningful and influential holiday of Central and South American cultures. The traditions have evolved over the years, but the core values have stayed the same; celebrating and remembering the beloved deceased.
Dia de los Difuntos, or Day of the Deceased in English, has distinct traditions that are specific to the culture of each specific Latin American country. It is a much more spiritual celebration than the well-known American version of “Halloween” which occurs at the same time. Throughout Ecuador, there are still many indigenous groups who incorporate their unique beliefs to the celebration, however, for many Ecuadorians the celebration typically consists of gathering together at the cemeteries of their deceased loved ones to pay respects and remember. They bring with them traditional foods that have become staples for the months surrounding this unique celebration; the most popular being the beverage, Colada Morada, and the bread called Guaguas de Pan.
Colada Morada is an amazing and authentic beverage made with unique ingredients that are specific to Ecuador and available only during this time of the year. The recipe is not set in stone, and every Ecuadorian family has their own special recipe that has been passed down year after year for all to enjoy. The sweet and rich flavor is characterized by well-known fruits such as strawberries, blueberries, blackberries and pineapple, highlighting several ingredients native to Ecuador including babaco, naranjilla, black corn flour, and other spices. The drink can be served hot or cold, depending on personal preference, however most people like it either way!
Colada Morada is not complete without Guaguas de Pan for dipping. Guaguas de Pan are a festive bread, which can be translated to “bread babies” in English. This roll is shaped like a small child or infant and prepared only for holiday and sold typically throughout October and November. Originally the rolls were made to honor deceased children and infants, and have since become a colorful staple in any Dia de los Difuntos celebration.
Colada Morada ingredients:
- 1 cup purple or black corn flour
- 14 oz naranjilla or lulo pulp (thawed if frozen)
- 2 cups blackberries (frozen or fresh)
- 2 cups blueberries (frozen or fresh)
- 2 cups strawberries, sliced
- 1 pineapple, peels and core + 2 cups finely diced
- 5-6 cinnamon sticks
- 4-5 whole cloves
- 4-5 all spice berries
- 12-14 oz panela or brown sugar
- A few lemon verbena leaves, fresh or dry
- A few lemongrass leaves, fresh or dry
- 2 pieces orange peel
- 8 + 4 cups water
For the full recipe and instructions visit, Laylita’s Recipe Blog.