Variations according to the Countries
Ecuador: In Ecuador the celebration is similar to Mexico: there are not many differences. People go to the graves of their relatives and leave local food and drinks like the Purple Colada, a beverage made of purple corn and local berries.
A tradition that is mostly seen in the rural areas is the Piruruy, the Ecuador version of Ouija; the game is played with dice carved from llama bones and is used as a method of communication with the departed.
Nicaragua: El Dia de los Muertos in Nicaragua is by far the most “extreme” of all the celebrations, as people go and camp in the mausoleums to be closer to their departed ones.
Colombia: Colombia does not officially celebrate this day. Still, many people pilgrimage to the graveyards on November 1st to leave items that the dead liked in life, such as their favorite books and their favorite flowers. The approach in Colombia is more romantic and solemn than other countries because big parties like the Ecuadorian and Mexican versions are not held.
El Salvador: In El Salvador, the day is honored on November the 2, but there are no real celebrations, like in Mexico.
Venezuela: There are no rites or traditions in Venezuela, but some believers use the days of November 1st and 2nd to do restoration work on the graves of their relatives.
Peru: The tradition in Peru is similar as the Colombian observance; flowers and items that the departed liked in life are left on their graves. People also gather to remember relatives and friends who passed away.
And with this brief explanation, we end our walk through some of the countries in South and Central America that celebrate El Dia de los Muertos.
If you want to learn more about The Day of the Dead you can buy this book; Skulls to the Living, Bread to the Dead: The Day of the Dead in Mexico and Beyond at Amazon.com. It is not too expensive, and it gives a great explanation about the different ways to honor death and rebirth in Hispanic cultures as well Pre-Columbian cultures. The book can give the reader a new perspective about how different cultures deal with the process of death. Some of those cultures will mourn in silence, and others will have parties and remember their beloved ones with a celebration of their memory.