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Discovering the Vibrant Traditions of Quito’s Foundation Celebrations

As we find ourselves in the enchanting month of December, I am thrilled to share with you a colorful celebration that unfolds across the Atlantic in a city called Quito, the city where I was born and rise.

Around December 6th, this city comes alive with festivities that mark the founding of their beloved Quito, and I’m excited to introduce you to this vibrant cultural extravaganza!

La Fiesta de Quito is a joyous celebration that honors the historical roots and cultural heritage of this South American city. Imagine streets adorned with bright colors, filled with the beats of drums, and scents wafting from traditional foods—a true celebration of Ecuadorian culture.

This lively celebration commemorates the founding of Quito on December 6, 1534, centuries ago by Spanish conquistadors.

The history of the foundation of Quito recounts that when the Spaniards arrived in Tahuantinsuyo, the Inca Empire was embroiled in a civil war caused by the power struggle between Atahualpa and his brother Huáscar. The former defended his hegemony from Quito, while the latter did so from Cuzco. Huáscar, indignant at his defeat, accepted disappearance. However, in the year 1533, after pacifying the empire, Atahualpa engaged in social activity with Francisco Pizarro, during which he was taken and later executed by the order of the Spaniard.

The conquest of the northern Andes was primarily encouraged by rumors that Atahualpa’s treasure lay in Quito. Two expeditions were formed: one led by Pedro de Alvarado from Guatemala, and the other by Sebastián de Benalcázar from the south. It was the latter who managed to arrive first. Thus, on December 6, 1534, the town of San Francisco de Quito was founded on the eastern slopes of the Pichincha volcano.

It’s worth mentioning that according to Ecuadorian historian Dr. Ricardo Descalzi del Castillo, the true foundation of San Francisco de Quito occurred on August 28, 1534, near the Colta lagoon in the province of Chimborazo, not by Sebastián de Benalcázar, but by Diego de Almagro. December 6 was the day when the founding act was brought to the current location of Quito, where civilians and soldiers registered to settle in the new town.

Over time, this celebration has beautifully woven together indigenous traditions, colonial influences, and modern expressions of Ecuadorian identity.

One of the most captivating aspects of this celebration is the vibrant parades that wind through the city streets. Dancers, dressed in stunning traditional costumes, move to the rhythm of Andean melodies, creating a kaleidoscope of colors and energy that is simply breathtaking.

Ah, the flavors of Ecuador! During these festivities, you’ll find stalls offering a delightful array of traditional dishes such as fritada, empanadas, llapingachos, and a warm spiced drink called canelazo. These culinary treats are an integral part of the celebration, inviting everyone to savor Ecuador’s rich gastronomy.

For us, situated in Slovakia, this celebration offers a unique opportunity to explore and learn about Ecuadorian culture. It’s a chance to embrace the diversity of our world, fostering understanding and appreciation for traditions that might be new and fascinating to us.

Though miles apart, let’s join in spirit as we celebrate cultural diversity and the vibrant traditions of Quito’s foundation. Here’s to embracing the beauty of global celebrations and sharing in the joyous spirit of this special time.

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