Ecuador's Intriguing Folklore
As with many countries, Ecuador is a country rich in culture, legends and folklore. Folklore in Ecuador takes on many forms and there is different folklore connected to individual areas, cities and even buildings. Some folklore in Ecuador has inspired festivals while others are dedicated to legends and cultural beliefs.
When traveling through Cuenca, you will be able to hear the stories of the Enchanted Stone, the Gargoyles, the Lamp of the Widow, the Chained Dog and the Witches. Some Ecuadorian Folklore was created to keep children from wrong doing, as is the case with the story of the Enchanted Stone. The Enchanted Stone, it is said, had great powers and closed the city off from a dark and mysterious part of the metropolis. Located in the Working District, it could grant wishes and was a wealth of information. Out of fear for the stone, no-one dared to talk to it. It also had the power to punish children who did not listen to their parents and of course this is the power that is emphasized the most in the story. The story was created to keep children away from this specific part of the city, as it was a place where young lovers were known to meet. It is said that Gargoyles cry like children when they come into contact with love affairs, while the story of the Lamp of the Widow originates in the El Vado District. It is said that the widow took the form of a haggard old woman as a disguise to travel to her lover unnoticed.
Quito overflows with Ecuadorian Folklore and you can hear a different legend or story on almost each street corner. According to legend, the indigenous foundation of Quito revolves around the story of the King and a falling star that he and his people followed on the insistence of the gods. The star took them to the Pichincha Volcano, where they relocated and established the city of Quito. You will also hear the tale of the Cathedral Rooster and the insulting wealthy man that passed the cathedral every day on route to his favorite watering hole. And there are many other stories and legends just like these.
Cantuna also has its own folklores. One of the most popular is the story of the building of the San Francisco Atrium. It is said that a man by the name of Cantuna was falling behind schedule on the building that he was being paid for. After many prayers and hours of work, Cantuna thought he would never finish. One day, Satan stopped by to offer Cantuna help in exchange for his soul. A deal was made on the condition that not one stone was to be out of place. The devil’s workers built the church, but in their haste forgot a stone and Cantuna was able to keep his soul.
Each story and legend is part of the intricately woven fabric of folklore of Ecuador. These stories serve to enrich each city and town with culture and history. When traveling through Ecuador, be sure to ask the locals about their folklore and legends, as they are guaranteed to be fascinating and give you a little insight into the history and culture of the country.