The entire world is preparing for the end of the year, but in Ecuador there is a special way to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Obviously, ecuadorians like dancing, having dinner with the family and drinking, but that is not the only activity that they do to close the year. New Year’s Eve in Ecuador is like a combination of the 4th of July, Halloween and Christmas altogether.
This tradition is typical in the whole country, but the most intense activity can be found in Quito, Guayaquil and Cuenca. The streets are plenty of activities for all the ages and styles: live music, competitions, drink, dolls and masks.
The main tradition in the country is to burn paper mache dolls at midnight of December 31st. Families and friends join together and they burn dolls in a big fire. They also use some clothes that they don’t use any more to make dolls and stuff them with old newspapers.
This act has a very important meaning: by burning all these things is a way of saying goodbye to bad things of the past year. It is a great opportunity for travelers to participate in this feeling: leaving behind the prejudices, the problems and the sadness. Every new year is a chance to start over again! New life and new feelings!
In fact, there is another typical tradition for these days of the year. Some people take an empty baggage and run around the closest square. It is a way to attract adventures and prosperity for the next year. Other traditions are using yellow underwear during that day, or putting a dollar in the shoe.
There are a lot of markets during the Christmas days, specially during that day, where people can buy some “monigotes”, as they call the dolls. All the streets become colorful and funny. Many people wear masks or dolls that they have done, and a lot of men dress as women.
They normally use dolls with faces of known people. For example, they burn dolls with the face of politicians, like majors of the cities or others. They also use dolls of famous heroes of the television, like Spiderman, princess Leia or Homer Simpson.
When the last seconds of the year are coming, they count down from ten, and they burn the dolls in the middle.Many of them also eat the classical 12 grapes inmidnight, and make a special wish for the new year.
As in the rest of the world, the couples end the year with a kiss, and everybody hug each other, drink champagne and celebrate the party! If you travel to Ecuador at this time of the year, you can be part of the fiesta and say to everybody: “Feliz Año Nuevo!”
If you want to travel to Ecuador or Peru, our local DMC is available for travelers and operators. Don’t hesitate to contact us to ask for a tailor-made trip that suit your schedule, budget, and interests.