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A colorful party ignites the Ecuadorian carnivals. The music breaks the silence and the sound waves makes the earth tremble on each of its four worlds. These are Pacific Coast, Galapagos Islands, Andes, and Amazon. Then you feel the need to sing along, to merge on its cultural richness and join the dancefloor. Why not?
This cultural explosion may seem a bit hard to digest so we’ve gathered 5 facts about Ecuador Andean Carnivals that you should know:
Mythical Taita Carnival:
Taita means father, and for the Andean region it is the father the one who leads the celebration. You’ll recognize it by the poncho, a flute and a big hat that stands among the many other characters who join the party. His visit brings good luck and a generous harvest throughout the year but only granted if he’s welcomed with a great banquet, something that’ll assure abundance for the host.
`To the sound of carnival, everybody gets up! Everybody gets up! How beautiful it is the carnival`, says and old chant mostly sing in Guaranda. This city from the Bolivar province, right by the steep side of the Chimborazo, has declared its carnivals a Cultural Heritage since 1999 in part due to its couplets that takes the Sunday celebrations.
The carnival’s burial:
Yes, that’s right! In Guamote, a countryside town at the Chimborazo province, the carnival ends with a burial. It’s the King, the Ambassador and the widows –men and women- who regret the loss of a good damn party! They all walk along the streets into the bullring, right in front of the town’s cemetery. Then, it comes one more big party and a last dance at the King’s castle, his house.
The carnival’s flavor:
Our carnival is a party and so all the dishes are on the table. It’s a banquet that displays the rich flavors of Ecuadorian cuisine. A white hominy and cow’s leg broth to start, cuy a la brasa –roasted guinea pig- served with boiled potatoes and a lettuce leaf all dressed with a peanut sauce. Maybe a strong fermented cassava refreshment and a sweet fig dipped in syrup for dessert. All the specialties are on the menu so it’s the time to eat as a local and try some culinary delights from Andes.
A time to meditate:
When the party’s over comes the time to get some peace and rethink, I mean… clean the mess. After all Carnival was a blast, the last big masked party when ancient societies used to switch the roles. It was the one time on the year when one free pass allowed you to be whoever you want to be and do as you please before the Lent. For the Andean tradition it was the time of the year that marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of a new time. So, the new beginnings and the catholic sorrow matched and blended on this celebration of history and alive traditions.
Carnaval is here! There’s a big party and you’re invited. There’ll be food, music and a dance! Come, visit Ecuador and join the celebration.