Since the predominant religion in Ecuador is Catholicism, the traditional Easter holiday is far more religious than the commercialized Easter celebrations (Easter bunnies, Easter egg hunts) in other countries.
A variety of religious reenactments, ceremonies, and dedication services take place throughout the country between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday. Both national and International tourists flock to Quito to visit the Colonial City, the first UNESCO World Heritage Site, for the annual parade which takes place on Good Friday.
During this procession, known as the “Jesús de Gran Poder”, worshippers carry crosses and chains and demonstrate their faith by walking barefoot or struggling along the parade’s path for hour after hour “bearing the cross.” “Cucuruchos” dressed in purple cloaks and hoods join the procession representing sinners and those who feel remorse for their actions.
It is for this reason that they cover their faces with purple cloth in shame. All of the participants in this yearly procession are reenacting Jesus’ trek with the cross up to his moment of crucifixion.
Easter is not only celebrated through public displays of faith and religious devotion but during the Easter time frame, an Ecuadorian culinary specialty is served up and devoured around Ecuador both in homes and in restaurants: fanesca. This is a hearty soup made up of grains and beans as well as smoked, dried codfish.
On Saturday there are parades in the streets as well as many performances and music. Easter Sunday is the last day of the Holy week where most people will pass the day quietly by going to the church.
Semana Santa is really a spectacular event in Ecuador and if you have the opportunity, it is definitely worth attending this great cultural experience; contact one of our Trip Advisors to begin planning your Easter vacation. Discover more of Quito Colonial City with one of our trip extensions!