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  • Writer's pictureLarm Ecuador

ECUADORIAN FESTIVITIES

Updated: Sep 6, 2023


The country cultural expressions are very much influenced by Ecuador´s early settlers and their adoption of the Christian faith which is present in our contemporary way of life providing an interesting mixture of celebrations.


Festivities in Ecuador include religious ceremonies often using Andean symbols and that are sacred to each village or town. These celebrations have lots of characters from devils to bulls – which provides s systematic illustration of traditions, rituals and customs.


We are going to briefly describe the most important celebrations month by month.


January: On the 6th day we celebrate Epiphany´s day marked with Christmas carols, Masses, traditional dances, processions and even fireworks. We also call it “Dia de Reyes!


February: We celebrate Carnival and it comes before Lent. This festivity is very particular among Ecuadorians and it is often celebrated playing with throwing water. However, some towns prefer to use eggs and flour while more urban areas such as large cities will use the special carnival foam.


March/April: Holy Week - The date of this celebration varies each year, as it depends on the ecclesiastical lunar calendar, and can take place between the 22nd of March and the 25th of April - This Catholic holiday commemorates the biblical events of the Calvary of Christ. It begins with Palm Sunday “Domingo de Ramos” and ends on Easter Sunday “Domingo de Resurrección”.



Nowadays, on Good Friday is possible to see hundreds of “cucuruchos” walking the streets of the historical centre.


May: Battle of Pichincha which commemorates the victory of the liberation forces during a determinant battle of 1822 and that signified the independence from the Spanish Kingdom.

June: Corpus Christi which is a very common festivity celebrated among the indigenous community. It is a mixture of indigenous and Christian traditions and one of the most important folkloric traditions of Ecuador and has been declared an Intangible Cultural Treasure of Ecuador


July: We celebrate the “Paseo del Chagra” which means the ride of Andean Cowboys. This tradition took place when the Spaniards introduced horses to South America and teach the locals how to ride horses so that they could guide them through difficult terrains. This celebration consists of parades with horses, bulls, Andean music bands, dances and a wide exhibition of agricultural products of the region.


August: The date August 10th is the celebration of the First Cry for Independence from the Spanish Crown. This is considered a very important historic event, as this first cry for independence was followed by other leaders in other countries of the region. This event is celebrated with a military parade and other events, in the city of Quito, which is the capital city.

October: The city of Ibarra celebrates its foundation during the month of October. The most famous and interesting event of these celebrations is an equestrian activity known as Caceria del Zorro or Foxhunt. The “Fox” is a horse rider dress in back, with a cape hanging from his back. The Fox has a head start of 80 meters and is then chased by the “hunters,” which are other riders from the community. Whoever catches the cape of the Fox gest a price and also gets to be the Fox in the following year.



November: On November 2nd we celebrate All Souls Day. This national holiday is very important for us Ecuadorians who have the tradition of visiting the graves of their loved ones in the cemetery and leave their favourite meals by the grave, as a present for the deceased. Another tradition related to this day is the Guaguas de Pan which are dolls made of bread that are eaten with Colada Morada, a warm and sweet brew made with different berries and red fruits and only prepared in this holiday.


December: We celebrate the Spanish Foundation of Quito with many events through the city, including open-air concerts and the election of the city´s beauty Queen. During this week it is also usual to see the Chivas which are open buses that drive around the city with music and people on board dancing and drinking.



On December 31st we celebrate New Year´s Eve with an interesting tradition which consists of doing or buying a life-size rag or paper dolls which are burnt on the streets at midnight. These dolls represent the ending year and is usual that the dolls represent a personality of the country such as a president or another well known personality. During this day, men dressed up as “viudas” the widowers of the ending year and request a donation from passing cars. The donations are then used to finance the new year´s party organized by the different neighbourhoods.




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