With apologies to those enjoying our blog in date order, I’m fast forwarding to say an almost timely Happy Halloween!
Halloween is certainly recognised in Ecuador. It’s the eve of All Saints Day after all and this is a Catholic country. But without much of the Halloween hype we’ve come to know back home.
Much more important is this Friday, November 2nd – the Day of the Dead, or more respectfully El Dia de los Difuntos (Day of the Departed) which, together with All Saints Day today, is a National holiday and a special time of year when families gather together and pay respect to their elders and those loved ones who’ve passed away, visiting and tending to family graves together, socialising with other families around them, young children playing at the gravesides.
Everywhere we’ve seen traditional Guagua de pan (bread babies) and Colada Morada (a blackberry and blueberry based drink) which are eaten or left at gravesides on this day and in the week or so leading up to it.
Yesterday, the kids woke up with excitement that it was Halloween, closely followed by a little disappointment and Zoe’s cries of ”This is going to be the worst Halloween ever – we can’t go trick or treating and we haven’t even got a pumpkin!”
We’d already bought the makings of a chocolate cake at the weekend and eyed a mouth-watering recipe for Devil’s chocolate and pumpkin cake on Martin’s Murder Mystery Blog, so after the morning’s Spanish lessons from which they emerged with beautifully painted faces, the kids and I scoured Quito to find a pumpkin and some appropriately ‘Halloweeny’ cake decorations, then taxied back to our apartment to fetch the remaining ingredients and to get some orange jelly setting in the fridge for later!
By the end of their afternoon class, Anita and Stephanie, the kids’ very game teachers, had helped them make the most delicious Devil’s chocolate and pumpkin cake (of course whilst chatting away in Spanish) with enough mix to bring home and cook a second one too! We ate the cake together with the teachers and their families who run the hostel, language school and travel agency together.
We could’ve gone to a Halloween quiz at the Turtles Head English pub but this was the only Halloween partying we could see arranged and it was hardly for kids!
So back at the apartment, Martin cooked brains and worms (aka cheesy burgers and spaghetti), we ate orange jelly and Zoe took our landlady Sandra, who lives upstairs, a piece of our Devil’s cake and returned with a beautiful Guagua de Pan made by Sandra’s Mum..
We’ve certainly not missed out. Everyone is happy! It’s been a fun, fascinating, educational week, sharing customs and culture – We visited a cemetery today with our teachers on the way back from the Museo del Agua, already people were busy tidying graves, placing flowers and painting the gravestones, a day early . It is also a fascinating multi-story cemetery with graves stacked up in great walls.
I hope tomorrow we’ll visit another, when there will be many more people, after all today we are a day early. Maybe we’ll even mark this time a little differently in future too!
Hope you enjoy our (mostly) Spanish Halloween singing here! It may sound like Happy Birthday but is Cumpleanos Feliz Halloween – Happy Halloween Anniversary!!