Ecuador, a country full of culture and diversity every where you look and go, and with this, many traditions are still preserved either from the Spanish or Inca heritage and in many cases a culture that has merged into one through centuries, some of the Ecuador unique traditions are:
Inti Raymi or the festivities of the sun Inti
(Inca tradition) celebrated in Ecuador from 17 to 23 of July every year
In Ecuador, Colombia, Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, the indigenous people, also preserve this tradition, of the celebration of Inti Raymi in different ways, however, their rituals have in common the worship of the Sun God. The Andean Parliament August 24, 2020 declared Inti Raymi as an intangible cultural reference of the Andean region.
The Inti Raymi, during the time of the Inca civilization, was a religious ceremony held in honor of Inti, God of the Sun. This celebration began every winter solstice, that is, every month of June and lasted 15 days in which different dances and sacrifices took place.
During the ceremony, the chronicles say, the Inca received the sun on his knees and with open arms. Subsequently, he took a gold cup with his left hand to give his relatives chicha to drink, while with his right hand he poured chicha into a gold jar. Then, after the curacas delivered their offerings, the main priest lit the fire with which the cattle sacrifice was made and to start the festivities, the meat was distributed among all those present.
Semana Santa or Easter
Last week of Lent, from Palm Sunday to Resurrection Sunday, which the Catholic Church dedicates to remembering the passion, death and resurrection of Jesus. In Ecuador, innumerable religious acts such as pilgrimages or processions are carried out, in Quito the traditional procession of Jesús del Gran Poder is carried out, recognized as Intangible Heritage of Ecuador, it brings together more than 300,000 attendees and 2,000 participants, who wear striking costumes of cones known as cucuruchos, veronicas and romans. In addition, they carry heavy crosses, chains or crowns of thorns to recreate the passion and death of Jesus Christ.
Additionally, another tradition is to make an exquisite soup that is made of twelve different grains, milk, cheese and codfish called “Fanesca”, which in its beginnings is said to be a soup that was prepared only with twelve different grains, but it tells the story that as a result of the arrival of the Spanish in Ecuador (1534), milk and cod were added to this soup, therefore it is a traditional Ecuadorian soup that unites two cultures.
Day of the Dead, Day of the Death (2nd of November)
This is a National Holiday in which people who passed away are remembered, the Ecuadorian tradition is to visit the tumbs, cleaning the gravestone and placing fresh flowers, this unique day of the year the catatumbs below each church are open so family members can go in and visit. In terms of food the tradition is to gather the family, make a hot drink with mora (local blackberry) spices, flour and other fruits, and homemade bread. In the Province of Otavalo this Ecuadorian tradition varies a bit since this day the local indigenous spend the whole day on the graveyards, eating the food that the person who is burried used to enjoy and also playing music on top of the tumb.
Carnaval or Carnival in Ecuador
This is a long Holiday which is also part of the religious festivities, celebrated before Lent, where many parades take place, as well as face paintings, the tradition is to throw foam and water at each other, depending on where you are located things can go wild, for example Guaranda is a city known for playing wildly, but also drinking and eating a lot, free pure liquor and free food, but also throwing of water is not the only practice, you can also expect flour, eggs, and color tints. On the other hand you can visit Ambato, known as the fruit and flower city where normally people will not throw water to each other, here the game changes, you can expect to catch some fruits from the parade trucks where some of the queens will throw fruits or flowers to the public.
Navidad or Christmas in Ecuador
Gifts in Ecuador are not a big tradition for Ecuador in Christmas time, if we can somehow compare Christmas in Ecuador to a foreign holiday it would be compared to Thanksgiving in the USA, therefore is mostly a family gathering, where many ecuadorians will prepare turkey for dinner, but also a good portion will prepare a meal that normally is not prepared during the year due to its costly price, in other words an especial dinner is prepared with all the families help and contribution. What is very traditional is a bag of candies which is normally given in schools and high schools.
Año Viejo or New year in Ecuador
Año Viejo is a tradition 100% unique to Ecuador, where a life-size doll is made with old clothes that are normally men’s, this man who is going to be burned is going to leave a will since he knows is going to be burned on December 31 at midnight, therefore the woman )who was his wife)she will remain a widow, the Ecuadorian tradition is that men dress up as this widow, so they begin to look for a new husband, with dances and sexy clothes ready and willing to conquer a new man.