“Because I live, you also will live.” John 14:19
I’m sitting here at our kitchen table on this cloudy and cool Friday evening. While those in the States are donning costumes and going trick or treating, my friends and neighbors here in Quito are getting ready for a long holiday weekend celebrating the “Dia de los Difuntos” which translates, “The Day of the Dead.” Around these parts this mostly means making the traditional “Guagua de Pan”- “Bread Babies” and “Colada Morada” – “Blood red hot fruit drink”. That is, in fact, what I’m sipping on right now. A friend dropped us off a hefty tupperware full of the potion, it is fruity and sweet with hints of cinnamon and other unknown spices.
In Ecuador the day of the dead means traditionally that families would gather together, transport a meal (along with bread babies and colada) to the cemetery. They would eat together around the graves of their beloved deceased, commemorating and also offering the food to the spirits who they believed were still present. This seems to stem from a very strong belief in the real presence of the spirits of the dead. As is true of most traditions, this one has evolved over the years, the strong spiritual significance has waned, at least where we live, and now mostly families spend the weekend together munching bread, sipping colada and and only sometimes visiting the graves of the departed in their family.
The strong family ties that my Ecuadorian friends have are beautiful, I also so appreciate that they take time to remember the lives of those who have gone on before them. On the other hand, I am grateful for the hope in Christ that I and many of my friends here share. We believe in a Savior who has come to bring us life, full and free. He says though we physically die, those who place their faith in Christ look forward to eternal life. In this holiday that is all about death, it is good to remember the very real Christ who lived, died and rose again that we might have life abundant.