Ecuador cultural expressions are part of our historical past and the richness of the early Native American people, as well as their adaptation to Christianity and to the new forms of life in today's society.
Ecuador Holidays are part of religious ceremonies mixed with Andean symbols and typical singularities of each village. In every celebration there are characters: from Devils to “toros de pueblo” bulls of village, each occasion surrounded in an atmosphere and unique decor which systematizes customs, traditions, and rituals of those who celebrate it. A characteristic of the festivals is the music of the “ banda de pueblo” people who entertains the atmosphere with songs of national music. Also, in popular celebrations, liquor, brandy or traditional drinks as chicha are always part of the party.
Most important holidays in Ecuador during January and February are:
January 1-6: “Pillaro Diablada” in the Tungurahua province. In this popular party men dressed as Devils take the city accompanied by folkloric dances and parades.
January 6: Día de Reyes, Epiphany’s day is celebrated with masses, Christmas carols, processions, Fireworks, popular music bands and traditional dances. It is celebrated in Ambato (Tungurahua), Cuenca (Azuay), Gatazo Grande, Lican, Tisaleo and Calpi in Chimborazo, Montecristi (Manabi), Chillogallo (Quito), and other cities.
February (Carnival): celebration of the Carnival in all Ecuador. It precedes Lent , therefore depends on the date of Easter. In all the Ecuador is a Festival in which people plays with water, in several villages people also use flour and eggs, opposed to large cities where the Carnival foam is preferred.
In Carnival is celebrated the “caporales” in Salasaca (Tungurahua) with traditional dances and above mention game with water; in Ambato is the fair of flowers and fruits; in Esmeraldas took place the international Afro festival, with music and dance contest.
The best-known Festival is the Carnival of Guaranda which is celebrated several days before. The ingesting of chicha, typical drink of corn, and the “pajaro azul” liquor, Blue Bird liquor, is traditional in this party.
The Carnival in Guaranda is held every year and is characterized by parades, music, dance, costumes, and can not miss the water and flour rush to passersby and visitors.
Taita Carnaval (Carnival of the father), is the prioste that starts the parade and celebration, the sponsor of the party makes its entrance. After this opening, the party starts. The celebrations last 8 days.
February 2: In Mira (Carchi) is celebrated the “Fiesta de la Virgen de la Caridad”, Festivity to the Virgin with Fireworks, dances, national ball games and cow capture, Vaca Loca.
February 4: Feast of the earthquake Lord, “Señor del Terremoto” in Patate (Tungurahua).
February 12: On this day people celebrate the anniversary of the "discovery" of the Amazon River, also celebrated as the day of the East. Fairs are done in Puyo, Tena and Macas and Zamora.
February 27: In this day Ecuador remember the battle of Tarqui in 1829. This battle is remembered as the culmination of the war between Peru and the “Gran Colombia”, which began in 1828 because of neighboring differences between these Republics. On this day the government also promotes national unity and performed the pledge of allegiance by the students of the last years of school, along with local events.
Holidays in Ecuador tend to be mixtures of Catholic religious festivals with holy days within what was the ancestral Andean culture.
In January, the feast of “La Diablada in Píllaro” is well known in Tungurahua.
In February Carnival is a big national holiday that has too many religious elements as popular elements from of the Andean tradition.