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Things to Do

FESTIVALS

January 1 Ecuador celebrates New Years (Aņo Nuevo) throughout the whole country. Almost of the celebrating happens on the 31st of December when there are a number of interesting traditions including Aņo Viejo (Old Year), the burning of a life-size dummy, to leave the old year behind.

End of February Carnaval is one of the most fun celebrations of the year. It starts usually around the second week of February by daily water throwing, which sometimes can get out of hand. The celebrations end with big parties in almost every corner of Ecuador during the last weekend in February. The base of this event is more of less to go crazy before the restrictions of Lent.

April Semana Santa, or Holy Week in Ecuador is celebrated with a procession, reinacting the crucafiction of Christ. These ceremonies start with the ending of Lent (about 40 days from Ash Wednesday). There is also a typical soup called Fanesca, with a base of dried cod, and seven different types of grain.

May 24 Battle of Pichincha is celebrated nationally as a flag-raising event. In 1822 General Sucre marched on Quito with a mixed army of Argentine, Peruvian, Colombian and Venezuelan Patriots. Attacking the Royalists, Sucre completed his victory and captured Quito. This led to the independence of Ecuador.

July 24 The birthday of Simon Bolivar is not one of the most important dates of the year but itīs celebrated in all of Ecuador.  Simon Bolivar was one of South America's most valiant and well known generals.  His victories over the Spaniards gained independence for Bolivia, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela, a very well respected figure. 

July 25 The founding of "Santiago de Guayaquil" was finalized by Fracisco de Orellana (who discovered the Amazon River) on this date in 1547. Guayaquil having a very vivid nightlife, this evening is always justa little busier.

August 10 The independance of the Republic of Ecuador from Spain in 1822, then becoming a part of "Gran Colombia" a federation made of what are known today as Venezuela, Colombia and Ecuador. That is why the flags of those three countries are so close.

First two weeks of September The Fiesta del Yamor takes place in Otavalo and attracts people from all over the world and is filled with processions, music, dancing, fireworks and the traditional crowning of the Reina de la Fiesta. You can also experience many traditional dishes and drinks including chicha, an alcoholic drink made of corn or yuca.

October 9 Independance of Guayaquil was declared by the soldiers and the citizens of Guayaquil on this day in 1820.

October 12 Known as the day Columbus first landed in the Americas and "discovered" it, this day is also recognized here as Dia de la Raza (or Race Day). This day is to celebrate hispanic races of the world, celebrated in most of Central and South America.

November 1 and 2 Dia de los Difuntos (Day of the Dead) is a time of respecting and remembering the people, especially family, who have passed away. Usually people go to visit cemetaries and make bread people, or "guaguas de pan", and a special blackberry-fruit drink called "colada morada". This food was originally made to feed the dead, but now just made as a traditional snack.

November 3 Independance of Cuenca was declared on this day. This holiday is just celebrated in Cuenca and the day is just filled with a little more regional pride.

November 7 The Mama Negra celebration in Latacunga is one of the biggest parties in Ecuador. This provincial capital is filled with people, parades and colors. This party has been described as the Mardi Gras of Ecuador, and it certainly earns that title. The tradition says that before independance, Latacunga was part of the Spanish Empire, in which the black servants revolted against their white masters. Eventually they came to an agreement, that they'd keep on working if the Spanish governor dressed up as a black woman on Virgin's Day. Nowadays the mayor of the town dresses up and the celebrations are wonderful.

December 6 The Independance Day of San Francisco de Quito. The nightlife of the city is filled with vibes and chivas (party buses) for this long weekend. There is also world famous bullfights on the day of independance.

December 25 Christmas Day is pretty quiet and, like in most places, it is spent with family. There is usually a feast in the evening of the 25th and theopening of gifts after the feast. More and more families are adapting to the North American Christmas, focussing more of decorations, trees and gifts, but it still is quite distinctive from their norhern neighbours.

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