Travel in Latin America
Culture and religion are two things that are very evident when you visit Ecuador. Culture, which is basically connected to religion, is very important to the people who live in this country. If you are planning a trip to Ecuador, it can be helpful to learn a little about the traditions and culture. Overall, you'll find Ecuador to be a country that blends many different cultures together, instead of focusing on a single culture.
Ecuador: A Mix of Influences and Cultures
When trying to understand the traditions and culture of Ecuador, it's important to realize that you'll find a mix of influences. While you'll find influences from the Catholic Church, you'll also find influences of Spanish colonialism and even pre-Columbian Indian traditions. Although modernization has definitely affected daily life in Ecuador, there are still strong influences from the old traditions. The cities have retained a lot of their distinct local flavor and charm, in spite of the influences of modernization. As you travel throughout Ecuador, you'll notice that the cities all have their own sense of history and identity, which they strive to preserve. In fact, it's often possible to tell where a person lives within the country based on how they are dressed.
Handicrafts have always been a strong part of the culture of Ecuador. Many people still like to make handicrafts using time-honored and traditional techniques. However, you'll definitely find craftsmen and craftswomen in Ecuador who use traditional methods to produce new and modern crafts. Regardless of whether they are making a traditional craft or something decidedly modern, you'll find that the craftspeople of Ecuador continue to embrace their heritage and traditions.
Spanish is considered to be the official language of Ecuador. However, you'll also find that the Indian population tends to speak Quichua, which is an Inca language. In addition to Spanish and Quichua, you'll also hear numerous other native languages spoken throughout the country. Of course, because of the influence of tourism, English tends to be the most commonly spoken foreign language.
During the year, you'll find numerous celebrations based on many different cultural influences. The Inti Raymi is one of the important Indian celebrations. The ceremonies and celebrations are thought to purify the soul and bring people into closer harmony with nature. Indians will travel to rivers, waterfalls and sacred territories during the summer solstice.
If you visit Ecuador during Carnival, you'll find that this event is celebrated throughout the entire country, from the cities to the beaches to the more rural areas. You'll find big parties and parades in all the major cities. The exact timeframe of Carnival depends upon the religious calendar, but it always falls within the March or April time period.
Christmas is celebrated in Ecuador on December 25, in a manner that is similar to how the holiday is observed in western countries. You'll also find that the nine days leading up to Christmas are observed with Catholic prayers, known as the "Novenas," at least among those who are religious. Holy week, a Catholic religious celebration, is observed in April.