8 Holiday Traditions to Embrace in Ecuador

Whether you are living in Ecuador and missing holiday traditions from home or interested in the culture of Ecuadorian holidays from abroad, check out this shortlist of feriado traditions. The best part is that during these holidays we always have a shared day trip so you can watch how these parties are held in other parts of Ecuador.

1)El Año Viejo and Nuevo Ano (New Year) December 31st – January 1st

Ecuador celebrates New Year’s buy putting behind the bad things from the past. Dummy bodies are built, often with depictions of political figures, and dressed in old clothing to be burnt as a symbol of moving on to better things. In Quito, the Amazonas street is full of people celebrating. “Widows” of the year, who are actually men dressed as women in tight clothing and fake breasts line the street. When a car approaches, they pull a rope tight and demand centavos to pass. Around midnight, giant fires are started to burn the dummy’s and hugs of the New Year are shared with everybody.

2) Carnival- February or March

Originally from the Italian word “carn-aval” meaning the absence of meat, this holiday is celebrated in Ecuador before Lent with parades, brightly colored clothing & masks, festivals, and street wars with water balloons & water guns to take advantage of the  4-day weekend.

3) Semana Santa, Easter – March or April

Ecuadorians celebrate Easter and with traditional religious church services and the famous Fanesca soup. Fanesca is a labor-intensive, creamy soup that contains 12 different grains/vegetables to symbolize the disciples of bible stories. It is served with hard-boiled eggs, salted cod, empanadas de Viento, and ripe plantains.

4) Dia de Trabajo- May 1st

Ecuadorians enjoy a day off and participate in typical parades and festivals to honor the laborers of the country.

5) San Pedro & San Pablo- June 29th

Celebrations take place starting the eve of the holiday in Cayambe, Cotocachi, and Chimborazo cities with giant bonfires lit on the streets. Women who want to become pregnant jump over the fires. Also, Ecuadorians come from all over the country to the city centers to dance down the street carrying roosters in cages to participate in the “delivery of roosters”.

6) Día de Muertos- November 2nd

Though modern day practices include simply taking flowers to graveyards to celebrate loved ones passed, the traditional belief says that the soul visits its relatives on these days. Food is prepared to further their journey into the afterlife. Breads of varying shapes are prepared to offer various significance (ie, a horse shape for transport) and set at adorned tombs for three years after a loved one has passed. The sweet purple drink, Colada Morada is also enjoyed on these days.

7) Navidad- December 25th 

Nativity scenes are displayed in each home and families visit during this time to view the displays. Children leave lists of what presents they want in old shoes for Papa Noel on Christmas Eve and find new shoes with presents from their list on Christmas morning. Traditional maple cookies called Prstinos and enjoyed during this season.

8) Ecuadorian Military and Independence Holidays

Foundation day of Quito- December 6th

Batalla de Pinchincha- May 24th

El Natalicio de Simón Bolívar- July 24th

Independencia de Quito- August 10th

Independencia de Guayaquil- October 9th

Independencia de Cuenca- November 3rd

Various celebrations take place in regions around the country with arts and crafts booths, shows, carnival rides, traditional foods, dances, concerts, fireworks, bull fighting, costumes, flags, parades, street festivals, and days off of work to celebrate the progress that Ecuador has made to become the country that it is today.

Written By: Betsy Maria D.


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