Join in the Vibrant Atmosphere of Carnaval

As any one would expect, the Carnaval in Ecuador, is the Mardi-Gras of the country. It is a time for festivities and celebration, dance and music, food and color. But it is a celebration that has its roots in the history and tradition of Ecuador, and is therefore also a cultural celebration. In every city around Ecuador the celebrations begin early and carry on late into the night, with festival goers dancing through the streets, and the streets alive with joy and jubilation.

When going according to the Catholic calendar, Carnaval is celebrated prior to the Lent period. The original purpose of the Carnival was to be as a compensation for the Lent period, as believers prepare themselves to abstain for forty days during Lent and pay penitence, before the death of Christ is remembered. In Ecuador, it is known that the Huarangas Indians used to celebrate their own festival during which they would throw perfumed water, flour and flowers on each other during their event. And it is the amalgamation of these two traditions that formed Carnaval.

Looking at the festival as Lent compensation, visitors should be warned that almost anything goes during the Carnaval. Parades, floats, creative masks, dancing and music takes over the streets of Ecuador, and in most cities the Carnaval games give children and the young at heart the perfect opportunity to indulge in a little mischief, such as throwing water balloons, flour and eggs at each other and squirting unsuspecting passersby with foam. Of course the authorities have banned these dirty games from the Carnaval, but for most festival goers it is far too tempting to resists and these events take place no matter how hard the authorities try to curb the mess. It is a colorful and lively festival, and eating and drinking goes on well into the next morning.

Visitors with a good sense of humor and a taste for the energetic and lively side of traveling are recommended to decide on a city and participate in the Carnaval in Ecuador. It is guaranteed to be a unique and fun filled festival, where the streets become the dance floors and anybody is fair game for a water balloon.