Full of tradition, each year the festivities bring joy to both Ecuadorians and tourists, who enjoy the cultural and artistic programming in which each of these celebrations has something to offer.
Many of the traditional Ecuadorian “fiestas” come from a pre-hispanic era. Nowadays we can find aboriginal elements in the Andean civilizations, in some cases, mixed with other traditions which the Spanish brought in the colonization era.
As there is a large amount of festivities in the Ecuadorian terrain, we will highlight the most important ones below.
Dia de la región amazónica (Day of the Amazon Region): Celebrated the 12th of February, commemorating the discovery of the Amazon river. It is a very traditional regional festivity, which is accompanied by a drink which is just as native to Ecuador, the “chicha”.
Festival de las frutas y las flores (The Fruits and Flowers Festival): A traditional “fiesta” of the city of Ambato, which is celebrated before the “Cuaresma” (Lent), in tribute to the land. The celebration includes parades, shows, fireworks and beauty parades.
Fiesta del sol (The “Fiesta” of the Sun): Also known as as Inti Raymi, this indigenous tradition in honour of the sun takes place in the province of Ibarra on the 21 and 22 of June.
Corpus Christi: Regardless of the fact that this is a national religious celebration, which mixes together indigenous and catholic traditions, in Cuenca the festivities are more famous and prolonged. It begins to develop in June.
Yamor: This is another cultural demonstration of indigenous origin, celebrated in Otalvo during the first week of September, as a way of thanking Mother Earth. It particularly gives tribute to corn.
Día de los muertos (Day of the Dead): Every 2nd of November this is celebrated in Ecuador, in tribute to deceased. During this day, it is custom to visit the graves of our departed loved ones. It is also traditional to drink “colada morada” accompanied by “guaguas” (sweet breads).
El Pase del Niño (The Child’s Pass): A way of paying homage to Baby Jesus in Ecuador is with this parade, in which children walk through the streets of the Cuenca dressed as biblical characters.
The most popular and important “fiestas” during January and February in Ecuador are:
January 1st to the 6th: Diablara (The Dance of the Devils) in Píllaro in the province of Tungurahua. In this popular “fiesta”, men dressed as devils take over the streets, accompanied by folklore dances and “comparsas” (groups of singers and dancers).
February “Carnaval”: The celebration of the “carnaval” in all of Ecuador. It precedes Cuaresma (Lent) and therefore depends on the date that Easter takes place. In all of Ecuador it is a “fiesta” where the people play with water, and many towns they even play with flour and eggs, in contrary to the big cities where they prefer foam. The best known is the Guaranda “carnaval” which begins its celebrations several days before. It is traditional during this “fiesta” to drink “chicha”, a typical drink based from corn and a liqueur known as “pajaro azul” (bluebird).
The carnaval in Guaranda is celebrated every year and is characterised by parades, music, dancing, costumes, and never without the water and flour which is thrown at bystanders and visitors.
February 2nd: En Mira (Carchi) there is a “fiesta” of the Virgen de la Caridad (Virgin of Charity) with fireworks, dances, national ball games and crazy cow rodeos.
February 4th: Fiesta of the “Señor del Terremoto” (Lord of the Earthquake), in Patate (Tungurahua).
February 12th: On this festive day, the anniversary of the discovery of the river Amazon is celebrated, also known as the day of the Oeste (West). “Ferias” take place in Puyo, Tena, Macas y Zamora.