On Day of Dead, Bolivians remember COVID-19 departed by baking bread in their likeness

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(Reuters) – As the Day of the Dead approaches in Bolivia, bakers are helping those remembering loved ones lost this year to the COVID-19 pandemic by creating loaves in the likeness of the departed.

The bakers knead the dough and shape it into breads in the form of people, adding plaster faces. Known as “T’anta wawa,” Bolivians believe they ease the journey of the visiting dead.

All Saints’ Day is marked on Nov. 1 in many parts of Latin America, a time when families remember their deceased. With the region hit hard by the coronavirus, this year will be particularly poignant for many, and restrictions on social gatherings mean it will be harder for the usual festivities to take place.

In a market in La Paz, Lourdes Vasquez has set up an altar to remember a colleague who died. It has a large, coffin-shaped loaf that says “COVID-19 2020” on it, as well as offerings of fruit, drinks and snacks.

Bakers said some locals are also requesting bread in the likeness of health workers, to remember those who died fighting the coronavirus pandemic. Bolivia has reported over 8,700 deaths from COVID-19.

“To remember our family members we are making T’anta wawa,” said baker Marcelo Montano. “They represent loved ones that we have lost and thanks to this (bread) we have them in our hearts … we remember them forever.”

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