Ecuadorians did not used to celebrate Halloween, until a couple of years ago when consumerism brought this foreign holiday to our cities. Now it is common to see that young people go out to go to parties for Halloween, but this is really just another excuse to get together and drink. No trick or treat!
The really important holiday that we Ecuadorians celebrate that is close to the 31st of October is the Day of the Dead, which is also one of the most important date in the indigenous calendar is the 2nd of November. Day of the Dead (Dia de los Difuntos, o muertos).
The ancient belief is that the soul visits its relatives within these day and should have plenty of food to be fed and continue further on its journey to the after life.
The family gets ready for this visit and among the several specialties that they prepare are the “bread dolls”, which have an specific meaning depending on the shape. Horse shaped breads for example means transport.
The ritual involves the construction of a tomb that is adorned with the soul’s favorite drink and food and over this tomb they place black cloth and the bread dolls together with several other things that are meaningful to the ritual.
Here there is a video where you can see how indigenous and people from the countryside of Ecuador celebrate the Day of the Dead. I was trying to get a video at least with subtitles in English, but it was impossible. The song of the video is really popular in Ecuador. The person who sings the songs is asking his relatives to bury inside of a clay pot like his ancestors used to do. It is like coming back to where come from.
Once the Soul arrives and celebrates with its living relatives, all of them celebrate as well with a big glass of Colada Morada (a purple sweet drink). Then, the ceremony is taken to the local cemetery. The ritual is done for up to three years. It is not continued afterwards. The celebration itself is a mixture of ethnic cultures and Catholic customs.
At the present times, as everywhere else, most Ecuadorians celebrate “Día de los Difuntos, o muertos” in a different practical way; just visiting their deceased relatives in the cemetery and adorning their tombs with flowers.