The celebration of “Todos Santos” is a Catholic event for us to remember the dead. According to the Aymaran culutre, souls travel to the west and return during this festival to their place of origin. During this celebration, the bereaved family gather around a special table to honor the deceased. This table is specially prepared for the occasion with fruits, breads, beverages and food that the deceased liked when they were alive.
The ingredients for a “Todos Santos” ceremony are:
The Tantawawa: This is a type of bread in the shape of a person. It is made with flour, water and butter. The Tantawawa bread represents the deceased.
The staircase: This is also a type of bread. According topopular Bolivian wisdom, it helps souls cross obstacles such as hills, rocks and high walls.
The Horses: Another type of bread, this time in the form of a horse. The horses are supposed to help souls carry their breads and others gifts when returning to heaven.
Chicha Morada: It is said that this drink quenches the thirst of the deceased. It is made of purple corn, sugar and lemon. Beer, soft drinks and other types of beverage can also be offered to the deceased.
Sugar cane: It symbolizes the shadow that requires a soul on sunny days.
Food: Consists of both traditional dishes and the deceased´s favourite dishes.
Candles: These illuminate the path of the souls.
Fruit: The fruit is selected depending on the favourites of the deceased.
Flowers: They are used to decorate the table and are also mainly chosen according to the taste and age of the deceased.
When clearing the table, the fruits, breads and drinks are given to people who say a prayer honoring the deceased.
By Alejandra León