What is the Yamor Feast?
In Imbabura, Otavaleños celebrate the best popular festival. Yamor this word is composed by two words Yak that means wise and Mur that means grain. The word Yamor is translated as the chicha of wisdom.
It is a cultural celebration qualified as "the happiest celebration in the most amiable city of the country", in which the devotion to the Virgin Mary of Monserrate is conjugated year after year, linked with the gratitude to the Pacha Mama for the fecundity of the lands and for having made possible the harvests.
The festival was born in the Monserrat neighborhood, in the city of Otavalo, province of Imbabura, approximately in 1952, where traditionally it was celebrated to thank the Virgin Maria de Monserrat, Otavalo patron saint and Pacha Mama for the harvest of corn and the vivifying work of the Otavalo region.
In this celebration, typical dishes and drinks were offered, among which was the chicha del yamor. From 1953 it was institutionalized, being called the "Yamor" party.
This year the festivity will take place from August 30th to September 8th and tourists will be able to enjoy the Pregón de Fiestas, election and crowning of Reina del Yamor 2019, swimming traverse in San Pablo lake, National Music Festival in tribute of Marías, Festival of Remembrance (Festival del Recuerdo), Andean Music Festival, Motor racing 4×4, and a great variety of activities that the Yamor 2019 Executive Committee will develop in several stages of the city of Otavalo and the surrounding communities.
The Feast Proclamation
It consists of a parade of allegorical floats, dances, bands and music, in which several local, national and international delegations participate, making their culture and tradition known.
Election of the Queen
In this evening full of color, joy and culture, the beauty of the Otavalo woman is highlighted and the queen of Yamor is chosen.
Swimming Trip to San Pablo Lagoon
It is one of the most important events that takes place each year. It is organized by the Otavalo Canton Sports league, which begins with preparations several months before the competition. The journey is made in the morning taking advantage of the fact that the waters of San Pablo Lake are calm and the distance that participants travel is 3.8 km between the sectors of Araque (departure) and the Costa Azul Pier (destination), the journey lasts approximately 1 hour. Hundreds of swimmers from various provinces of the country such as Pichincha, Manabí, Tungurahua, Azuay and Imbabura participate, classified in different categories, thus giving the opportunity for men and women of different ages to compete.
The most outstanding is the Music Festival, which is held in honor of the Marias, with the participation of national and international artists.
Blessing of the harvests
At Fiesta del Yamor, city people and people from the communities come together to thank Pacha Mama for the harvest and the religious feast dedicated to the Virgin Mary of Monserrat, whose name coincides with the indigenous feast. This celebration is carried out with the procession of the Virgin that goes from the Sanctuary of San Luis to the Cross of the Socavón, in this place the mass of blessing of the harvests is developed.
Chicha del Yamor
In a historical-cultural plane, Yamor is the chicha, it is a sacred drink elaborated with seven varieties of corn, whose grass has been the backbone of the food chain since pre-Inca times. Its preparation demands a laborious cooking process and once the chicha is obtained, it becomes the letter of introduction for national and foreign tourists who come to this beautiful imbabureño corner.
Formerly the chicha of the Yamor was destined to the great caciques to accompany their banquets. The term yamor comes from two words Yak, synonymous with sage and Mur, grain, calling the Yamor the "chicha of wisdom".
Otavalo, considered the Intercultural Capital of Ecuador, is known worldwide for its craftsmanship, music and because throughout history it has forged a close and rich relationship and inter-learning between different peoples. Otavaleños are characterized by their cultural matrixes, philosophy, language, forms of production, organization, clothing, nature, landscapes, ritual sites, ceremonial centers and the hospitality of their people, unique characteristics that have made it a special tourist destination in South America and the world.
The dances and ancestral music in which the dancers, aruchicos, carishinas, diablillos, among others, attract every year hundreds of tourists, who enjoy these cultural manifestations of the north of the country.
Where is the Yamor Festival celebrated?
In the city of Otavalo, known as the "Friendliest City in the World" imbabureños celebrate this great event the Yamor festivitie. It is a fusion of culture and tradition. It begins on September 1 and ends on September 8. The imbabureños come to celebrate this beautiful celebration.
What does Yamor mean?
Yamor is the acknowledgment to the pachamama by the harvest of the corn and additionally it is homage to the invocation of the Virgin of Monserrate. The Ecuadorian Sierra celebrates in Otavalo canton the magnificent festivities of Yamor, which is dressed in colors, music, dance, cultural events. There are marked differences between the festivities carried out in the urban and rural sectors.
Two traditions make up the Yamor festivities.
- The first is an agricultural ritual of gratitude for the harvest of seven varieties of corn, with which the traditional Chicha del Yamor is made, which is still consumed today.
- The second coincides with the feast of the Virgin of Monserrate, of great importance for the Catholic Church, established in the traditional district of Monserrate and that complements the ancestral culture with the colonization by the Spaniards.
Yamor Festival 2019
During the celebration, the Otavalo Handicrafts Fair is held in the city, one of the largest at the national level.
On September 1 and with the blessing of the corn harvest, all events begin. The proclamation is the event that marks the beginning of the ancestral feast with activities organized by each community and of course with the local governments.
The Yamor celebration is a historical-cultural celebration that unites the chicha of pre-Incan origin and a people’s religious faith, this festivity is projected as an act of the same people united in its diversity, such as the grains of corn that are ferrously consolidated in a cob.
The Feast of Yamor 2019
As a relevant data we indicate that this tradition was born in the Monserrat neighborhood approximately in the middle of the XX century, where it was celebrated to thank the Virgin María de Monserrat, Otavalo patron saint and the Pacha Mama for the harvest of the corn and the vivifying work of the Otavaleña region. In this celebration typical dishes and drinks are offered, in which the chicha del Yamor is the fundamental axis of the celebration and that is a drink elaborated by seven varieties of corn, the same one that was destined to the great caciques to accompany to their banquets and that now is consumed by all the settlers and visitors.
The Legend of Yamor
Legend has it that the cacique's daughter asked taita Imbabura for help, to bring joy back to a young farmer who had lost his parents and with whom she was deeply in love. This is how taita Imbabura told him to prepare the drink with 7 different grains from the harvest and cook the grains with water from the lagoon. This young man took this drink from the young woman’s hand and from that moment he remained deeply in love, and the chicha of the yamor is born, baptized thus because it was a drink of the love. And from there every year celebrates the feast of Yamor
Yamor Feasts presents the typical ancestral food of the area, and most of its dishes have as a special ingredient corn.
The most appetizing dish for visitors has the following products: mote, tortillas, fritada, tostado, empanadas, accompanied by a glass of chicha de Yamor, which is the traditional drink par excellence.
Another typical dish are the red meats, and it is accompanied with mote, empanadas, tortillas de papa, gazpacho, ají and of course the chicha del Yamor.
Yamor Feasts Schedule
Otavalo. The schedule for Yamor 2019 Feasts.
Yamor 2019 Feasts Program
- Programme runs from 30 August 2019 to 8 September 2019
- Proclamation Yamor 2019, 30 August, from 18h00
- Yamor Night 2019 August 31st, from 20h00. Place: Bolivar Park
- Andean Night Yamor 2019 September 5, from 20h00. Place: Plaza delos ponchos
- Homage to the Marias, September 6, from 20h00. Place: UE Otavalo
- Crossing San Pablo Lake, 7 September, time: 8h00. Place: Araque
- Yamor Youth Festival 2019, 8 September from 15h00. Place: UE Otavalo
Visit other typical Ecuadorian traditions such as:
- Quito Feasts
- Guayaquil Holidays
- Cuenca Holidays
- Mama Negra
- The Chagra Pass
- Holy Week in Ecuador
- Old Years in Ecuador
- Guaranda Carnival
- Feast of Saint Peter and Saint Paul
- Day of the Dead
- Fox Hunting
Ecuador's most popular dishes
- Shrimp Ceviche
- Dry goat
- Ecuadorian steak
- Green Bolón
- Fish onions
- Potato Locro
- Ecuadorian Fritada
- Ecuadorian Bake
- Roast beef with stew
- Leg soup
- Purple Colada
- Bread Guaguas
- Chicha de Jora
- Roasted Cuy with Potatoes