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Guaguas de pan - the Bread Babies for the Day of the Dead

Bread figures or 'Bread Babies' have been part of the food culture of Ecuador for centuries. A traditional holiday fruit drink known as colada morada accompanies the sweet bread figures, both of which are shared by families during the day of the dead celebration known in Ecuador as Día de los Difuntos, or 'Day of the Deceased.' The special bread figures known as guaguas de pan - guaguas means baby in Quichua - were made with pumpkin in earlier times. They were composed of boiled tortillas cooked in a pre-hispanic clay pot. These breads evolved with the arrival of the Spanish conquests when wheat was added to the sweet pumpkin bread batter. The recipe now is a basic sweet yeast dough similar to cinnamon rolls.What we know as bread figures are understood to be a representation of the deceased decorated with colorful icing and ornaments. When the Spanish conquerors came, they changed a rumored ancient custom of exhuming the dead for the occasion, and instead implemented th…

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