Events and festivals in Ecuador
The popular festivals of Ecuador are a true reflection of a rich and lively culture. The carnivals, the colourful troupes and the traditions come together to bring life to a great variety of events.
Festivities in Ecuador take place throughout the year, almost every month there is an important festival. Whatever the region, traditional festivities in Ecuador are always a spectacle worth seeing. If you travel to Ecuador, take note of the following dates.
Devil Dance of Pillaro in January
This popular Ecuadorean festival is celebrated from 1st to the 6th of January when dancers gather from all communities and neighbourhoods. The Diablada consists of boisterous parades, art exhibitions, tasting of local dishes and different musical events. It’s a whole display of colour, folk traditions and authenticity that you cannot miss.
Also in January, on the 21st, the festival of Santa Fe de Galán is celebrated in Chimborazo and the festivities of Urcuqui are celebrated on the 25th. Both are traditional festivals related to the rural environment.
Of all the events that you could see in Ecuador, it is essential that you see the Fiesta de la Yuca. It is celebrated between January and March and is a typical festival of the Ecuadorean Amazon. The villages of Zaparos and Kichwas sing tributes to celebrate the ripening of the fruit.
Other celebrations that take place in February are the Día del Oriente Ecuatoriano (East Ecuador Day) on the 12th of February, the provincialisation of the Galápagos (18th of February), and the Batalla de Tarqui (the Battle of Tarqui) on the 27th. The latter commemorates the battle which took place in 1829 in the Portete de Tarqui.
The Carnival in Ecuador
The 4th and 5th of March are the key dates for experiencing the full splendour of the Ecuadorean carnival. As the carnival is celebrated in each region, some places start from the 10th to the 13th of February, and others at the beginning of March. Among them all, the carnival of Guaranda (4th to 5th of March) is the most famous and most recommended.
Ecuadorean festivities always have a traditional framework, and this is highlighted in the Fiesta Kasama of the Tsachila community. At El Poste, the Tsachila community celebrates the beginning of a new year from the 13th to 15th of April. This is a festival where dance, music, theatre and traditional clothing are the protagonists.
Custard Apple Festival
At Puná, on the 3rd of May the Festival de la Chirimoya is celebrated with a whole day of festivities based around this tropical fruit. Traditional dishes are eaten and there are competitions where people are invited to be on the judging panel to choose the best fruit.
The Battle of Pichincha
In May, the Batalla de Pichincha is also celebrated, namely on the 24th of May. This festival celebrates none other than Ecuador’s independence after the battle of Pichincha in 1822.
Inti Raymi Celebrations
Of all the festivities in Ecuador, the Inti Raymi has a special symbolism as it is the Festival of the Sun. This festival is celebrated throughout the whole country and, at the same time, gives thanks for good harvests. The celebrations take place between the 21st and the 24th of June each year.
In June the bullfighting celebrations also take place, such as the Toros Populares at Píllaro and those at San Pedro de Cayambe.
On the 25th of July each year Guayaquil celebrates the festival of Santiago del Mayor. These festivities commemorate the founding of the city. This Saint’s Day festival of Guayaquil also coincides with the Feria Internacional Gastronómica de Raíces (The International Traditional Gastronomy Fair).
Kako Wiiñaë Festival
In the valley of the Aguarico River on the 24th and 25th of August each year the inhabitants of Cantesiaya celebrate their new year. This is an ancestral celebration where the village shamans take Yagé (a sacred hallucinogenic plant). By doing this they contact the spirit world to welcome in the new year.
Festivals of Cotacachi and the Sangolquí Maize Festival
From the 6th to the 14th of September two traditional celebrations are held in Ecuador. Both revive the cultures and memories of the indigenous inhabitants by wearing traditional dress and performing ancestral dances.
Festival of the Imbabura Lakes
If you travel to Ecuador on the 24th to the 28th of September, don’t miss out on the Imbabura Lakes Festival in Ibarra. This town is known as the White Town, and apart from being a paradise for tourists, it celebrates its legends and traditions.
In October, there are various lesser festivals, such as the festival at Puná and the Rodeo Montubio in Bbahoyo. Both are held on the 12th of October.
Festival of the Innocents and the End of the Year at Atuntaqui
From the 26th to the 31st of December, the inhabitants of Atuntaqui take to the streets to take part in parades, troupes and popular dances. This is a popular festival which has a tradition of over 70 years.
As you can see, there are many different kinds of popular festivals in Ecuador. Choose your travel dates carefully so that you can take part in the one you like best.