Semana Santa in Quito

Easter in Ecuador

Palm Leaves and Processions

Holy Week in Ecuador

Holy Week (Semana Santa in Spanish), is arguably the most important festival of the year in Ecuador, and it's a fascinating time to be in the country to witness the mass outpouring of faith that takes place, along with some curiously Ecuadorean traditions...

Quito is probably the best place to base yourself for Semana Santa, as it has the largest public celebration of Holy Week in Ecuador, in the form of the Jesus de Gran Poder procession. As many as a quarter of a million people pack the central Plaza de San Francisco to see an image of Jesus brought to Quito's cathedral by a group of 800 purple-robed Cucurochos.

However, it's some of the smaller celebrations that are more unique, many of them displaying the characteristic Ecuadorean synthesis of Catholic rites and indigenous traditions. For example, in the parish of Alangasi, just outside Quito, two dozen painted and costumed 'devils' are publically driven from the parish church, later to reassemble at a house in the village to eat, drink, and be ritually cleansed. All over Ecuador you'll find hundreds of these curious traditions, and they really make the country come to life.

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