From great El Carnivals to important soccer games and bullfights, Ecuador is fun all-the-year-round, though the most colorful and exciting celebrations occur during major Ecuador festivals and holidays. One of the most important events in Ecuador that is incomparable to any other holiday both within the country and in the world.
Ano Nuevo is the New Year's celebration in Ecuador, observed throughout the whole country. It culminates on December 31, when local residents and visitors alike have a wonderful chance to observe many interesting traditions, including Ano Viejo - stuffed dummies made of firecrackers, wood, sawdust and paper and shown throughout Ecuador before they are burnt. Most often, celebrities, local and international politicians and other famous personalities are characterized representing Ano Viejo. While the tradition takes place throughout the country, the best possible place for New Year's celebrations is Salinas.
Possibly the most important of all Ecuador festivals, Carnaval starts around the second week of February and ends with fun and large parties in nearly every corner of the country on Ash Wednesday. Carnaval in Ecuador has a very unique version that cannot be compared to other countries' celebrations. Ecuadorians celebrate it by throwing bags filled with flour, balloons filled with water and water weapons. The majority of visitors to Ecuador prefer Ambato, where the event is celebrated with beautiful parade, known as Fiesta de las Flores y de las Frutas. Today major cities of Ecuador follow the example of Ambato and ban water throwing.
Those visiting Ecuador in April have a unique opportunity to observe Semana Santa or Holy Week, celebrated the week before Easter. The ceremonies start with the end of Lent, some 40 days from Ash Wednesday. Recognized as one of the most popular Ecuador festivals, Semana Santa is held all over the country, with the most magnificent processions occurring in Quito. An important tradition during the festival is the Fanesca - a soup made with salt fish and several types of grain.
Another widely celebrated holiday in Ecuador, Battle of Pichincha is held on May 24 as a flag-rising event. Its origins can be traced back to 1822, when General Sucre marched on Quito with the army of Venezuelan, Colombian, Peruvian and Argentine Patriots. Sucre attacked the Royalists and captured Quito, which led to Ecuador's independence. One of the most important dates on Ecuadorian national calendar, the Independence of the Republic of Ecuador is observed annually on August 10, marking the country's independence from Spain in 1822, becoming part of the federation composed of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela.
The first two weeks of September are generally dedicated to the Fiesta del Yamor, one of the most exciting Ecuador festivals, held in Otavalo and filled with fireworks, dancing, music, processions and traditional crowning of the Reina de la Fiesta. Visitors can experience a variety of traditional drinks and dishes, including the alcoholic drink chicha make of corn.