Holy Week In Quito

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Photographs: Yolanda Escobar

This year, plan your Easter Week in Quito is still in advance!

Easter Week returns to Quito with all its color. The streets and beautiful heritage buildings of the capital will come to light in the eyes of visitors and the hearts of the Quiteños.

This is a season of introspection and faith, of deep-rooted sentiments that go back centuries to ancient rituals that have blended with everyday life. If you are in Quito during Easter, there are several places in which to experience the many acts of faith and cultural manifestations that take place during Quito’s Semana Mayor, one of the most traditional and important celebrations in the Catholic world.

Holy Week in Quito’s churches

A religious event this important is the best excuse to enjoy the beauty of Quito’s religious temples, where some of the greatest baroque sculptors of Colonial Spanish America left their mark and legacy. You can also witness some of the world’s rarest liturgies, such as the Arrastre de Caudas (Dragging of the Robes), a ceremony that is no longer carried out in almost any other city.

Holy Week in Quito’s rural towns

Catholic manifestations have evolved with the times, yet in certain remote corners of the capital, some celebrations still seem ancient. This dichotomy is evident in many towns in the rural areas of the Metropolitan District. From the quiet procession on Holy Tuesday in the picturesque Puéllaro, which begin at the village’s beautiful church to the more modern “diabladas” (Devil Dances) in Alangasi and La Merced.

Holy Week in Quito’s kitchens

The entire city gets prepared to feast on Ecuador’s unique fanesca, a multi-ingredient soup made only in Ecuador and only during this time of year. The stew brings together twelve legumes, pulses and cod, plus many types of garnishes like sweet plantain, flour patties, hard-boiled eggs and more. Traditionally, of course, it is better to taste this delicacy home-cooked, although lately many restaurants serve their particular recipes. There is also a fanesca competition, during which cooks in Quito present their best version, with recipes that some claim date back centuries!

Holy Week in Quito’s streets

Perhaps the best place to experience Easter Week in Quito is along the old cobbled streets of the city’s Historic Center, with colorful processions that inaugurate the festivities during Palm Sunday and the fascinating Good Friday processions: a quieter, more recluse procession that begins in Santo Domingo Church, as well as the climax of Holy Week in Quito: the Jesus del Gran Poder procession organized by San Francisco Church.

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