Ecuador Holiday (Carnival)

This Ecuador Holiday is very special and its celebrated during February throughout the country in many original ways.

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There are popular festivities where people wear eye catching disguises with colorful masks and dance to the rhythm of lively music.

Carnival is celebrated throughout Ecuador. It has become a very popular tourist attraction.

It started as a Christian holiday type thing called Lent. Lent was a time to fast and suffer as Jesus had. Before Lent people wanted to enjoy themselves and Carnival was created.

When carnival ended and Lent started it was called Ash Wednesday (40 days before Easter).

Carnival is also classified among the festivities of the spring equinox, which is closely related to the indigenous cosmology before Catholicism in America.

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Cities with Carnival Celebrations

Ambato City Carnival

This carnival is called the Festival of Fruits and Flowers. It is held annually in the last two weeks of February.

This Ecuador holiday is one of the most attractive of the region with colorful parades, festivities and bullfights for up to four days.

Ambato City comes to life with parades, exhibitions, fireworks, and as many boxes of peach-flavored wine as the population can handle.

Fruit is in season all year in Ecuador, given its latitudinal location, but Ambato's own fruits, apples and pears in particular, are in their prime during February.

The city gets decked up in lights and invites the country's national and international tourists to visit during the weekend before Ash Wednesday.

Traditionally, a religious-themed mural is displayed over the doors of the city's main cathedral in downtown. This mural, made entirely of flowers, fruits and bread, towers two-stories high, and is a popular attraction for visitors.

Because of the importance of this Ecuador holiday, for this Andean city, throwing water is prohibited in the downtown area. Instead of water people celebrate by spraying a harmless foamy substance similar to watery shaving cream.

While in Ambato you can visit Quinta de Mera, the estate of the famous Juan Leon Mera who wrote the Ecuadorian anthem among other things.

In the country side you will see the enormous roses that bloom so profusely in the volcanic soil of this city that sits midway between the volcanoes of Cotapaxi and Tungurahua.

Guaranda City Carnival

Guaranda is located in the Province of Bolivar in the central highlands of Ecuador. The city has around 30,000 inhabitants and is the capital of the Province.

Its name was taken from the old Indian chief Guaranda who still towers over the town in statue form.

This carnival has a dazzling combination of parades, dancers, strolling poets and masked people who roam the streets at random.

A group of local musicians also meanders in and out of various houses through the day often receiving alcoholic beverages like the local drink called Pajaro Azul (Blue Bird).

This Ecuador holiday is actually opened by a large landowner who is warmly referred to as Taita Carnaval (Father Carnival) who finances the party himself and officially opens the festival upon entering the town.

Guaranda, is well known for its lively and festive Carnival. For five days, the town is filled with locals and visitors, and life is wild.

Every day, there is a fantastic parade with lots of dancing, music, water and smiles.

The yearly Guaranda Carnival is known to be one of the best Ecuador holidays and is eagerly anticipated by the people from the Bolivar province.

There's a tradition of throwing water and flour balloons amongst its inhabitants coupled with much singing and dancing in the streets.

The carnival features the important choosing of the Kuski Raymi Ñusta (meaning "pretty woman" and referring to the carnival queen), and the recurring presence of Taita Carnival and Mama Carnival as the two male and female carnival characters who preside over the parades and festivities.

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During this Ecuador holiday in Guaranda lots of pigs, chickens and rabbits are fattened and killed in order for the best local dishes to be made for the celebrations.

Other Cities in Ecuador have also revived the carnival traditions with colorful parades, such as Azogues (Cañar Province), where a lively parade will take place on Friday, February 16th.

In Azogues and the Southern Andes in general, the "Taita Carnaval" is a Cañari Indian dressed for the celebrations.

Ecuador Beaches are also a great destination during the Ecuador holiday of carnival. The weather is absolutely wonderful and there are also many celebrations and parades.

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