Greetings, dear readers!
As we find ourselves on the brink of the festive season, we were excited to share a glimpse into the unique blend of traditions that made our Ecuadorian home so special. When Shawn and I started our family in Ecuador, we were determined to ensure our children grew up embracing the rich cultural tapestry of their birth country alongside the traditions we knew and cherished. Thus, our annual Halloween party was born, creating a harmonious celebration that intertwined both Halloween on October 31st and Dia de los Difuntos on November 2nd.
A Tapestry of Cultures: Celebrating Halloween
Halloween, with its vibrant costumes and the promise of sweet treats, has become a beloved celebration for children around the world. In our indigenous community located amongst the volcanoes of the Northern Andes, we’ve woven this tradition into the fabric of our family and community life.
Each year, our children eagerly anticipate the chance to dress up in creative costumes, transforming into characters that spark their imaginations. While in the US the streets come alive with the laughter and excitement of trick-or-treating, here in Ecuador where this isn’t a common practice we started hosting a Halloween party so that our kids could have a similar experience. And so we could share the fun with our employees and friends and their families. In the years past we set up carnival like games brought in pounds and pounds of our favorite candy from the US and made a mountain of food to share. Our friends and employees enjoy the party so much we start getting messages and questions about it months in advance. Friends traveling generously offer to bring in supplies.
This year, the festivities took on a special significance as L&S Artisan Meats proudly sponsored The Haunted House Fundraiser, supporting two fantastic causes—The Special Olympics and Making Strides In La Calera, a program dedicated to funding soccer initiatives for children in our beloved community. We decided to do something a little different this year.
A Ghoulishly Good Time at The Haunted House Fundraiser
This year, L&S Artisan Meats had the honor of being a sponsor for The Haunted House Fundraiser, a thrilling event that not only delivered spine-chilling scares but also contributed to causes close to our hearts. The fundraiser supported The Special Olympics and Making Strides In La Calera, offering valuable assistance to programs that make a positive impact on the lives of many.
To kick off the celebrations, we took our dedicated workers and their families on a delightful trip around downtown for some trick-or-treating fun. The first time something like this has been organized in Cotacachi. The streets buzzed with excitement as our team, decked out in creative costumes, about 50 people strong, reveled in the joy of this timeless Halloween tradition.
A Night of Spooky Surprises
The highlight of our Halloween festivities was, without a doubt, the visit to the Haunted House—a spine-tingling experience orchestrated by dedicated volunteers. Laughter and shrieks echoed through the air as our team navigated the dark corridors, encountering ghoulish surprises at every turn. It was a spectacularly scary and immensely enjoyable adventure, leaving us with lasting memories of shared laughter and friendship.
Dia de los Difuntos: Honoring Ancestral Spirits
Following the jubilant festivities of Halloween, we transition into Dia de los Difuntos, a poignant and meaningful celebration that honors our ancestors. Dia de los Difuntos, or Day of the Dead, is a time when families come together to remember and celebrate the lives of those who have passed on.
In our indigenous community, this is a time of reflection and connection with our roots. The air is filled with the sweet aroma of colada morada, a thick, hot, fruity beverage made with a medley of blueberries, strawberries, and pineapple. This drink, rich in Ecuadorian tradition, warms our hearts and serves as a symbol of unity with our ancestors. Families come together in the cemetary and share food, mostly consisting of grains, between each other.
Pan de Guaguas: A Sweet Commemoration
One of the most fun for our kids is making of the delightful pan de guaguas. These bread rolls, shaped and decorated to resemble swaddled babies, carry a profound significance. Guagua, meaning baby in Kichwa, pays homage to the little ones for whom these treats are named.
The act of sharing colada morada and pan de guaguas is a beautiful testament to the blending of cultures. It is a moment where Ecuadorian and Halloween traditions harmoniously coexist, fostering a sense of unity among our diverse community.
Living and Learning Together
Living and working in our indigenous community has been an enriching experience. It’s not just about sharing our traditions; it’s about the reciprocal exchange of cultures. Our community, with its warmth and openness, has welcomed our traditions, and in turn, we have embraced theirs. Through this cultural exchange, we’ve built bridges of understanding and forged connections that go beyond the surface.
In the dance of Halloween costumes, colada morada, and pan de guaguas, we find a beautiful reflection of the shared humanity that binds us all. It’s a celebration of diversity, a recognition of the importance of knowing and appreciating each other’s stories.
As we continue another year of blending Halloween and Dia de los Difuntos, we are filled with gratitude for the privilege of living in this vibrant community. We invite you to join us in embracing the richness that cultural exchange brings and celebrating the beauty of traditions passed down through generations.
With warm regards,
The L&S Artisan Meats Family