Thursday, December 6, 2012

Festival de Quito

Our stay in Ecuador holds a very important holiday for the people of Quito; the Festival de Quito, or their 500-something year anniversary! Can you imagine living in a city that has over 500 years of rich political and cultural history? The festivities traditionally centered around the Spanish-influenced bull fights, but this year the president has ruled the fights to be too cruel for the bulls. We have gotten the impression that Festival de Quito just hasn't been the same since there are no fights to watch.

The end of the fights did not stop Colegio Menor from celebrating, however, so we jumped right into this major cultural holiday right alongside our students! The day before the official holiday, students showed up in traditional dress or the colors of Quito's flag, red and blue. Kind of interesting that a city has its own flag, eh? The entire early childhood school came outside to hear the high school band perform traditional Songs from Quito, which are extremely catchy and very happy! What other city do you know that has its own widely-known song? And the kids were SO CUTE waving their flags and singing every word!

After the performance, our kinder classes ate snacks of traditional Quito dulces, or sweets. I love that the city has such a rich tradition that they can even claim sweets as their own! I tested way too many of those yummy things, and I found a lot of things I wished were easy to find in the States. Yum yum!!

Today, the actual anniversary date, we had a vacation from school. So us Americans ventured into the old town to see what was going on! The whole area was covered in flags, in every plaza and on most buildings. We saw several bands, watched performers dancing, and ate lunch once again in an old palace. We even visited a Pre-Columbian museum! This week has further opened my appreciation for places with rich, deep, and long-standing culture. I love the excitement this week has brought!

Listen to their theme song, El Chulla Quiteno, that we danced to at school with the bad and the kids. I promise it's catchy and the happiest song you'll ever hear, I think:

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