Tag Archives: quito

The streets of Guapulo

Guapulo is a hilly bohemian village just a few minutes out of Quito, Ecuador. In a little one way street lies a series of great street art, a few hip and funky cafes and some really expensive housing.



Drunkard in the streets

I loved this photo of a effigy, ano viejo (old year)!

In Quito, during the New year, the Quitenos make effigies of people, often poking fun of a particular person or character.  This is to symbolise burning away the old year for allow the new to come, which they will burn at midnight.

This is particularly funny for me, because, while living in Quito, I often see many drunkard men around my neighbourhood, so drunk that they simply collasped on the the streets until the morning. Believe me, its quite a common sight around my barrio!

New Year rituals and traditions of Ecuador

Spending the New Year Celebrations in Ecuador is highly recommended and it had been quite a fun experience.

In Quito, Ecuador, the Quitenos celebrate their New Year’s Eve slightly different than the rest of the Andean countries. Around the late afternoon, the Quitenos would dress up in halloween costumes, the more frightful the better.

Families in costumes parade around the Avenue de Amazonas, often in costumes that are more suited to halloween.There were many celebrations going on with music stages all set up in the main street with huge dolls.

Events end early in Quito, the crowd would thin out quickly by 10pm, families would return to their barrio for their own family celebrations.

I got to visit a Quiteno family and participated in their celebrations, we did the rituals for the New year, danced, cried, read out our hopes and desires, burnt effigies, set off fireworks, then finally got to eat our new year dinner after 1am and continued until dawn broke.

In the neighbourhood, the young men or sometimes older men would dress up as ‘Viudo de Negro,’ Black widows. Blocking off their streets to hapless drivers begging and harassing for money. It can be quite a campy sight, where the males would dress and act in quite raunchy, exaggerated depictions of women.

Rituals and Traditions of the New Year

One of the traditions or rituals is to burn an effigy of a person in form of a masked dummy, the effigy is usually a person that you despise or someone you wish to get rid off in the new year.

At midnight, the effigy is burned, to symbolise the burning of the old year, aka Ano Viejo, and to usher the New year. Each person in the family would jump across the burning effigy to burn away their bad luck. It is also a custom to write your wishes and hopes out and speak it out as you burn the effigy.

Things to do at stroke of midnight – Everything is done 12 times

It gets quite busy at midnight,

You are suppose to eat 12 grapes to symbolise your desires and protect you for each 12 months of the year.

Wear new underwear :  yellow for money, or red for love.

Sweep the dirt away in the front of your house twelve times.

For those wishing to get married  in the new year, you have to sit and stand 12 times in a row at the stroke of midnight

Carry 13 golden coins for prosperity all night during dinner.

Read out your will, or desires and hopes for the coming New Year.

Then Finally eat your New Year’s dinner after everything is done!

Feliz Ano!

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Christmas Mass with pop singing monks

Since it is the Christmas Season, I might post a little video on Ecuador, South America.

Quitenos celebrate Christmas Eve by attending mass either at midnight or earlier before heading back to their homes for Christmas dinner around midnight or 1am. It is a rather quiet affair with few people in the streets except around the churches.

In San Francisco Iglesia, Quito, I was expecting it to be a solemn quiet mass only to be greeted with pretty lively music, young singing monks with live band. The young padre would in between those lively pop music give rather short sermons and even invited a few of the masses to sing along with the band!

This went on for quite a while and everyone was rushing to the front to get their baby jesus nativity dolls to be greeted by the padre after the music

What a great Christmas Eve Mass, who knew!