Past and future: 5 Quito Traditions that Trascend Time


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Quito is a city of unique traditions. Some of these send us back to a distant pre-Columbian past, which pre-dates the arrival of the Incas. Others are quite recent, including festivities no more than fty years old: urban traditions, rural traditions, traditions that celebrate life, food and entertainment… these are ve that have marked our city!

Wooden Go-carts

Fiestas de Quito – held every December 6 – are considered among the most festive times of year in our city. But the idea of taking to the streets to celebrate the Spanish foundation of the city is relatively new, barely 68 years old. e wooden go-carts are even younger than that! Children, with the help of their families, build wooden go-carts and use the steep slopes of the city to race. Every year, a growing audience comes out to celebrate “Quito Days” and adrenaline!

El cuarenta

This card game, which is played in pairs of two and has a series of unique rules, is known throughout the country, but is speci cally linked to the Fiestas de Quito celebrations. Every neighborhood, institution, company and family sets up their own heated cuarenta tournaments, which have become a city emblem!


This street celebration that dates back to pre-Columbian times and takes place in neighborhoods like Cotocollao or La Magdalena, o ers a theatrical performance of sorts, depicting the murder of an ancient soul known as the “Yumbo.” is festivity brings to the fore a series of unique characters, including the sacha rune, a man who dresses in leaves and challenges men to help them evolve.

“Purple” Colada and Guagua dolls

The best bakeries have modernized the age-old tradition of making bread dolls, the famous guaguas, and colada morada (a concoction made with native herbs and purple corn) prepared to celebrate the Day of the Dead. e tradition has been present in many Andean cemeteries since well before the Incas. Families share food, including the bread dolls and the colada, amongst themselves and with the departed, but the modern version of these recipes are well-beloved by all, especially the younger members: that’s probably because of the jam/chocolate lling!


Holy Week is a full- edged experience in Quito, with unforgettable liturgical events during Palm Sunday, the Dragging of the Robes on Holy Wednesday, Good Friday’s Fanesca or the Jesus Almighty procession. But one of the most surprising traditions takes place in the rural Quito towns of Alangasí and La Merced, where hundreds of people dress as devils, with monstrous masks and costumes that combine the traditional visions of evil with Death Metal band T-shirts and logos, who even play the roll of devils that take over the town and their churches during the brief hours when Jesus died and was resurrected.

Parque Bicentenario, terminales del antiguo aeropuerto de Quito
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