Our traditions are one of the aspects that most characterize us as Ecuadorians. Each special date brings with it a peculiar history and custom. Finados or better known as the Day of the Dead is a season in which a tribute to deceased beings is given and a traditional sweet is shared between family.
The Day of the Dead is celebrated in many places in the world in different ways. Here in Quito the existing tradition is maintained in most of the country's cities. Commemorate our deceased beings and make the preparation of the delicious purple wash and guaguas of bread.
Every 2nd November the Day of the Dead is celebrated, in which our ancestors used to go to the cemetery with abundant food to share it with their loved ones who have already left.
Some indigenous communities still maintain this tradition, but usually families go to the cemetery taking flowers to the tombs and sharing prayers for their deceased. The cemeteries are often full of people at this time.
But these tributes are not the only ones that make this date special. As a unique custom of the Ecuadorians, a drink made with purple flour, fruits and spices, better known as purple laundry, is prepared; which is accompanied with bread made in the form of a colorful decorated doll and sometimes filled with fruit jams.
This delicious sweet begins to taste since mid-October. Each family prepares it according to their traditions. It is common to share it in workplaces and also in schools or schools where children decorate their own babies' bread.
The capital celebrates this traditional date with events, tastings, contests and more. As a tourist establishment this year we decided to participate in the contest of the best guaguas of bread and purple laundry organized by the University of the Americas and Quito Turismo. This contest takes as its sixth edition where they participate a lot of establishments between hotels, restaurants, coffee shops and more.
This year the contest was focused on the bread bus: its ingredients, design, texture and flavor. For this reason, we decided to elaborate a guagua made of bread made from quinoa flour and this is our story:
Quinoa was chosen as the base ingredient of bread to pay homage to the Inca cultures who considered this food as the "grain of gold" and "food of the gods" for its high nutritional and medicinal value. The filling of the bus is elaborated with mortiño, a wild fruit very typical in this epoch and traditionally used for the preparation of the purple laundry.
The selected figure for the guagua de pan refers to Supay, the Inca god of death, in honor of our deceased beings, for whom this date is celebrated. Supay is considered to be the protector of the road that will be crossed when dying, since the Incas believed that after dying the soul passed into the background where they had a new beginning with the Inca gods.
Our purple laundry is made with selected ingredients and prepared in a clay pot to maintain the tradition of our ancestors in terms of preparation.
Additionally, October is the month in which the national day of quinoa is celebrated. For what we pay tribute to this super food so used in our country.