By Joshua Summers
Outdoor activities and discovering the landscape of Ecuador may be fun things to do when you visit this nation in South America, but traveling to this country without experiencing its unique traditional festivals will not make it as colorful as it should be.
The Latin American region is known for its amazing natural landscape, great people, delicious food, and festivities. Ecuador is one of the countries in the region that holds traditional festivals that reflect its culture. Tourists can also participate and enjoy the stories behind them.
Ecuadorians are known to celebrate festivals with vibrant and vivid colors, so visiting the South American nation and experiencing one of their festivals will surely make you dive into its rich culture.
To let you choose which festival will truly make you enculturate with the tradition of Ecuador, here are some of the country’s best traditional festivals.
Inti Raymi or Sun Festival
If you love basking in the sun, why not attend a festival in the town of Cotacachi and nearby villages solely celebrating the heat and light energy. Inti Raymi or Sun Festival takes place during June and July, but the major part of the festival is held in June.
The sun festival begins with the sunset of the longest night of the year, and as the Andean Summer starts, this festival is commemorated to give gratitude to the sun. This celebration also coincides with the harvest season and the end of the Andean Agriculture cycle.
Fiestas de Quito
If you happen to be in Quito in the last week of November until November 6, you might as well stay in the city to witness the celebration called Fiestas de Quito. According to Trip101, this week-long festival is held to celebrate the city’s founding in 1960.
This festival is filled with flamenco performances, opera shows, bullfighting, games, and theatre performances. Cuarenta, a typical Ecuadorian game, is also played by the locals during this event.
Pase del Niño parade
Although Christmas Eve Pase del Niño parades are held throughout Ecuador, the largest and most impressive in Cuenca where as many as 20,000 people march through the the streets of the city’s historic district with another 100,000 looking on. The event is famous for the elaborate hand-made costumes worn by children celebrating the birth of the Christ child.
Cuenca is also well-known for its indenpendence festival in early November. The four-day even attracts artisans not only from Ecuador but from around Latin America.
Yamor Festival or Corn Festival
If you want to witness a festival that traverses both Catholic and ethnic traditions, the Yamor festival is the one for you. Held in the city of Otavalo, people gather to celebrate and pray to the Virgin Mary of Monserrat and indigenous goddess Pachamama for the soil’s fertility and a good harvest.
Another star of this celebration is the Yamor or a traditional beverage brewed using several types of corn. Trying this drink is a must during the festivity. During this celebration, there are also processions, music, fireworks, and even cock fighting.
La Diablada de Pillaro
The La Diablada de Pillaro, or The Devil’s Dance of Pillaro, is a festival usually held in Pillaro city from January 1 to January 6.
Folklore connects this festival to the indigenous uprisings across several centuries. During this celebration, locals of Pillaro dress up as imps and other characters and engage in a parade on the city streets.
Mama Negra Festivities
The biggest traditional festival of Ecuador is Mama Negra, or Black Mama. It is celebrated twice a year, in September and November, and features a combination of cultures from Spain, Africa, and Indigenous influence.
These festivities in Latacunga town feature a parade composed of different characters, with its focus on Mama Negra, which for some of the locals is a combination of the Virgin Mary and the African deities.
Credit: Latin Post