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To visit a town during the celebration of a party is having the chance to know its people idiosyncracy because in their songs, in their dances and in their gear, is possible to discover their customs, their sadness and their happiness.

The Ecuadorians celebrate their parties with an overflowing enthusiasm, each resident dress best clothes and the whole town gets organized in advance to have everything -including drinks and food for everybody- set up.

Since the pre-hispanic times they used to celebrate festivities that coincided with the crop or the solar cycle (spring and summer). But, with the arrival of the Spaniards, the Church transformed many indigenous celebrations into catholic holy days. Civic days are also remembered with pride and respect.

During the week before lent (after the holy Wednesday; in February or March) towns celebrate the carnivals with their best typical dances and allegorical representations. It is recommendable that the visitor arrives early so he could leave before the celebration starts its traditional excesses, because it is usual in these parties that dancers, musicians and people in general, drink liquor in excess.

The celebration of the holy week begins when most of Ecuadorians buy leaves of palm to give them different forms and then take them to the Santo Domingo de Ramos Church. Easter Thursday is remembered as the Day of the deceaseds, because people visit cemeteries taking food and drinks for their beloved ones.

Quito has a special celebration for Easter Thursday. Some men drag enormous wooden crosses accompanied by hooded penitents. The procession walks through the streets of the capital followed by a multitude of parishioners and curious.

Traditional parties are in the counties. In Cotopaxi and Tungurahua it is commemorated with special devotion the festivity of Corpus Christi (celebration that is carried out on the first Thursday after the holy trinity). Each festivity varies according to the place. For example, in Salasaca it is celebrated with music and dances. The natives wear masks made of plaster, hats with feathers and laces.

In the valley of Otavalo, the festivity of San Juan Bautista is celebrated on June 24th. It is believed that it substituted to some pre-inca festival of the solstice. It is a masculine festivity, in the eve, men wear clothes tipical, american indians, women, soldiers and Mexicans with giant hats, and they even dress as Americans with blond wigs, jeans and backpacks.

One of the most important dates in the county of Imbarura is the celebration of the festivity of San Pedro and San Pablo on June 29th , date in which is commemorated in many places the festivity of San Juan, while the adoration of La Virgen de la Merced, on September 24th, coincides with the Mamá Negra festivity in Latacunga (county of Cotopaxi). The town dances in the streets all night long. There are parades and music bands.

On November 1st and 2nd the Day of all the Saints and Day of all the Deceaseds is commemorated and it combines catholic and Andean traditions. Before the arrival of the Spaniards it was believed that the spirits lived up to 24 hours after dead. It is a tradition that the relatives take food and drinks to accompany their gone beloved ones.

Those that travel to Quito should remember that December the 6th, happiness takes possession of the capital. The city gets dressed of elegance to commemorate the date of its foundation. Parades, bullfights, dances in the streets and a widespread happiness are the characteristics of this day.
For the celebrations of Christmas it is used to carry out the presentation of the Baby Jesus. Whole families take images of the Baby Jesus, accompanied by musicians, to the churches to have them baptized. At the same time, in Cuenca is carried out the Pass of the Boy where children of all the regions arrive, some of them dressed as natives, riding horses and offering gifts.

Respect and devotion for their traditional parties confer to Ecuador a special attractiveness in those days, where people are always willing to share the inheritance of their past with the visitor friend.

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