Carnival and its history
Carnival is one of the main festivals celebrated in Ecuadorian traditions and celebrations. It is celebrated in February or March, specially the week before Lent, and ends on Ash Wednesday. Lent was a time to fast and be the sufferer as Jesus was. The saying is that, before the Lent the people wanted to enjoy and hence, Carnival was created.
The main aim of the Carnival festival is to compensate for the following forty days of penitence and abstention in preparation for the remembrance of Christ’s crucifixion. This is normally a time for celebration all over the world, and Ecuador is not an exception. Ecuador has a history of celebrations and is known for Huarangas Indians (from the Chimbos nation) who used to celebrate the second moon of the year with a lively festivity by throwing flowers, flour and perfumed water.
Fun and Games
The diablillos (little devils) play with water and other crazy games, like snow fights, which is long awaited and specially meant for teenagers and children, and feared by adults. Throwing water balloons, flour and even eggs not only to friends but also to strangers passing by the street can be fun but also annoying. The government forbad the game and it is not anymore played in schools, but still widely played across the country. Also, people used to wear colorful masks and dance to the rhythm of lively music. Don’t feel surprised and offended if a colorful water balloon hits you. Ecuador is a country full of surprises and fun. Even from water to car oil to unthinkable can be one of the stuff which is thrown on you.
Where the Carnival happens?
The most famous carnival activities are those in Ambato (Tungurahua Province) and Guaranda (Bolivar Province). In Ambato, the festivities are called “Fiesta de las Flores y de las Frutas” which is the festival of flowers and fruits. The city is beautifully decorated with lights and invites the country’s national and international tourist to visit during the weekend before Ash Wednesday. Over the doors of the city’s main cathedral in downtown the religious-themed mural is displayed. This mural is made up of fruits, flowers, bread and towers two-stories high and is popular attraction for visitors.
While in the Guaranda City, the carnival has a dazzling combination of dancers, parades, strolling poets and masked people who roam around the streets at random. Guaranda is well-known for its lively and festive Carnival. Almost every day, there is fantastic parade with lots of dancing, water, music and smiles. There is also a tradition of throwing water and flour balloons amongst each other with much of people singing and dancing in the streets.
In Azogues (Canar Province), the carnival traditions with colorful parades happen where there is a lively parade. In Southern Andes and Azogues, the “Taita Carnaval” is a Canari Indian dressed for the celebrations. Carnival is a holiday in the entire country and many local people and tourists go to the beach and other tourists’ sites around the country.