Culture

 

Ecuador's culture is greatly influenced by its Hispanic mestizo majority and Spanish Heritage.  However, there is also distinct influences on Ecuadorian culture from Amerindian traditions and elements of African culture.

The most substantial wave of modern immigration to Ecuador consisted of Spanish colonists. In the late 19th and early 20th centuries there was a small number of immigrants from Poland, Lithuania, England, Ireland, and Croatia. African slavery was not perpetrated in the Spanish colonies of the Andes Mountains of South America, instead the indigenous people were subjugated through evangelism and encomiendas.   Due to this, the minority population that is of African descent is mostly found in the province of Esmeraldas where it is believed that a slave-trading ship was wrecked in the 17th century.

There is an influence from Ecuador's indigenous communities on mainstream culture to varying degrees, but many indigenous communities practice their own separate culture, particularly the remote indigenous communities found in the Amazon basin.

Spanish is the main language of the country and is spoken as a first language by more than 90% of the population. Part of Ecuador's population can speak Amerindian languages as well, with two percent of the population speaking only Amerindian languages.

In Ecuador, you will have the opportunity to discover the traditions of the Amerindian indigenous peoples living in the Andes and the Amazon.  Different experiences allow you to share their customs and become a part of the community. Ecuador is one of the rare places in the world where ancestral people have preserved the ancient customs and traditions.

 

Festivities and Traditions

While every region has its own traditions, there are some festivals celebrated by the majority of Ecuadorians. Listed below are some of the most popular festivals and traditions:

 
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The day of the Dead

Yasuni National Park is considered the most biologically diverse spot on earth. It is here that the Equator, the Andes Mountains, and the Amazon rainforest converge leaving the park in the center of a small zone where amphibian, bird, mammal, and vascular plant diversity is at the highest levels found within the western hemisphere.

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Holy Week

Holy Week is a weeklong religious celebration that includes Palm Sunday and Good Friday. The most popular and spectacular event during Holy Week in Ecuador is the procession of Jesús del Gran Poder (Jesus the Almighty) in Quito. Each year, about a quarter million people gather to watch the magnificent parade and experience the eerie devotion of its penitents.

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Carnival

Carnival is an amazingly fun, colorful, exuberant holiday to celebrate excess and abundance before the beginning of Catholic Lent. Carnival also celebrate the indigenous holiday of Paucar Huatay which honors the end of the solar year.

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La Diablada de Píllaro

If you want to dress up as the devil and participate in an ancestral holiday meant to repudiate and mock the devil, you can visit Pillaro for La Diablada de Pillaro. In Santiago de Píllaro, thousands of people dress in the well-known Diablada Pillareña.

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Pawkar Raymi of Peguche

This Festival takes place in February or March of each year and is celebrated by the community of Peguche located north of Otavalo-Imbabura. This Carnival is of Andean origin and is a celebration of the fertility of the earth and the connection between Mother Earth and the Andean people.

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Corpus Christi

Corpus Christi is a combination of the Spanish Catholic holiday celebrating the body and blood of Christ and Andean Culture. In Ecuador, the festivities are celebrated in June, and are especially popular in Imbabura, Loja, Pujili, and Cuenca.

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Inti Raymi or Feast of the sun

The Feast of the Inti Raymi, which is also referred to as The Feast of the Sun or The Solemn Easter of the Sun is another Ecuadorian cultural event that occurs in June of each year. This holiday is a tribute to the Sun God, thanking him for his kindness to the earth.

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Yamor

Yamor is a cultural celebration often referred to as “the happiest party in the friendliest city in the country” where, each year, the locals combine devotion to the Virgin Mary of Monserrate with their gratitude to the Pacha Mama for the fertile land and the crops.

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The Fox Hunt

The Hunting of the Fox is a traditional competition that goes back to 1972, when some students of an equestrian school were invited to the San Vicente Ranch of Police, in Quito (Pichincha).