Indigenous Cemetery

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This custom to visit the deceased, takes place every Monday and Thursday and especially the 2nd of November every year.  The indigenous community come to the cemetery to perform worship through offerings, sacred songs and prayers to their family and deceased.

In Otavalo there are two cemeteries, one for the mestizo community and the other for the indigenous.  In the indigenous cemetery you can appreciate the customs and traditions of our ancestors. 

To commemorate the memory of the faithful deceased, the idigenous prepare different foods, especially the preferred dish of the deceased and deliver it to the cemetery in the early morning hours.  They place crowns and cards on the crosses.  In earlier times over the tomb they put a tray full of food (rice, potatoes, beans, cooked corn kernels, corn, meat, small bananas, avocadoes, dolls made of bread, colada with churos (shells), champús, among other foods)  with the idea that the deceased will enjoy these things.  The indigenous bring extra portions of food they like and share with the rest of the people they meet at the tomb.  Later various members of the family begin to relate important stories of what happened during the year and during the life of the loved one with the objective that the deceased will learn everything that had happened.  The indigenous stay all day praying with blessings from a priest that celebrates mass in the cemetery, requesting eternal rest for the souls of the deceased.  

In the early days of November, especialy the 2nd, in Otavalo you can enjoy various dishes or typical foods of the season:  bread dolls, colada of churos (shells) blackberry colada and champús, that is a preparation of a base of sweetened corn with brown sugar.  All the indigenous communities prepare bread dolls to symbolize and represent the Holy Spirit. For this reason a characteristic of the bread dolls is that they have no extremities.

Additional Info

  • Average temperature:


  • Elevation:

    2.565 m.a.s.l.

  • ¿What should I bring?:
    • comfortable shoes
    • warm clothing for the winter season
    • camera
  • Activities:
    • Cultural tourism
    • Photography
  • Advice and precautions:

    If you are going to take photographs, please ask for permission before you do.