Carnival, the father of all paties

Carnival may be the most widely celebrated pagan festival on the planet. Each year, it takes over streets and cities throughout the world, igniting them with rhythm, debauchery and traditions.

Although its history dates back to the Roman bacchanals held in honor of the god of wine, the arrival of Christianity propelled it into what it is today, Universally, for Catholics, these days represent a period of freedom before the self-denial of Lent. Each country has its own cultural festivities, and of course Ecuador is no different; whether near the cold of the high-altitude paramo or in warm seaside coves, the days of Carnival are celebrated in a big way. Many of the country's celebrations are a mix of Catholic beliefs and Incan rituals; they are colorful manifestations of the union of two ethnicities and two continents. 

Guaranda on the rocks

Everything is in place along the main avenues of Guaran-da. Its tradition begins with the election of the Rusta Pawcar Raymi or Queen of the Carnival, who will be accompanied by the characters of the Taita, Mama and Guambra (father, mother and child) of the Carnival. They all parade through the city together, to the rhythm and joy of the accompanying dancers, while residents and visitors engage in a fun-filled bat-tle of eggs, flour, colored dyes, foam, talcum powder, lotions, flowers, candies and water; indispensable parts of carnivaling. 

Ambato, the most beautiful flowers

During the days of the festivities, a number of events take place; some of the most important indude: the election of the queen, the ceremony of the Blessing of the Bread, Flowers and Fruits, the International Folklore Festival, the nighttime "Ron-da Nocturna" and the Parade of Fraternity. The latter event is what attracts the most tourists, for its explosion of beauty and elegance. 

Esmeraldas, music and revelry

To the rhythm of the marimba, Esmeraldas bursts with music, dance and traditional dress. The remodeled Las Pal-mas resort is the perfect setting to celebrate Carnival; here the party gets going with the International Festival of Marim-ba Music, which each year indudes guest artists from Africa, Brazil, Colombia, and elsewhere. 

Chota, grooving to "la bombe"

The program on the banks of the Chota River is enlivened with "bombe music. Each year, the warm dimate in the midst of the mountain ranges of Imbabura province attracts tour-ists to this marvelous valley. Here, as in any good Ecuadorian Carnival, buckets of water are thrown all over the place, and foam decorates the t-shirts of visitors as they enjoy the festival known as Coangue. No matter what dty of Ecuador you choose to spend the Carnival holiday at, you are always going to find an agenda full of fiesta and culture. And so it is: "... at the sound of the Carnival, everyone gets up, everyone gets up, how wonderful is Carnival...". 



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