Festivities dedicated to the so-called “Carita de Dios” begin in late November, and in 2022, when the city will celebrate its 488th anniversary, the Mayor’s Office organized more than 250 events.
They are apparently simple concerts, dances, civic parades, and food fairs, although for Quito’s residents they are part of their heritage and identity.
Standing out among festivities are the so-called “chivas” (floats) buses or trucks turned into traveling dance floors that tour different roads in the city.
Music, along with chants of “¡Qué viva Quito!” (Long Live Quito!), is a steady celebration on these rolling dance floors, a bit noisy for those who prefer peace and quiet, sometimes expensive, but still, highly enjoyed by those who like partying.
The Fiestas de Quito are not the same without the traditional “canelazo,” a drink prepared with “aguardiente”, sugar or “panela”, star anise, and cinnamon, which will better be sipped hot, according to locals.
This year, due to logistical problems, Quito citizens regret not being able to hold wooden coach races, competitions that are usually done on slopes, from where children and grownups slide down in small homemade carts.
Many practices and customs that take place year after year in the Ecuadoran city, located on the slopes of the Pichincha volcano, 2,800 meters above sea level, preserve their pre-Hispanic and colonial time origins.
The story goes that on December 6, 1534, Spanish military officer Sebastián de Benalcázar founded San Francisco de Quito in the heart of the Andes, on the ashes of an Inca land burned down in order not to leave anything for the conquistador.
The date, which for some is a vindication of colonialist thinking, is for most people in Quito an excuse to celebrate and recall their origins.
Amid celebrations, visitors have no choice but to admire and dance with school and neighborhood bands, to go out and enjoy musical groups and a variety of artistic forms in a city which, 488 years after being founded, grows and faces challenges without losing its joy.
Taken from Orbe
By Adriana Robreño, Chief Correspondent/Quito