You are most likely familiar with Brazil’s Carnival in Rio de Janeiro, but did you know, Carnival is also celebrated in other countries across the world, including, Ecuador? Carnival is a celebration that takes place a few weeks before the traditional Catholic Lent. Carnival’s celebration depends on the Catholic Church’s Liturgical Calendar, and is usually celebrated in the month of February or March. This year’s Carnival is celebrated throughout the entire month of February, in cities both big and small, across Ecuador. There are parades, however; the main Ecuadorian tradition is quite an interesting one. Most Ecuadorians celebrate Carnival by throwing water balloons, flour, eggs, and spraying “carioca” (a foam substance) among friends, family and even strangers. The cities of Ambato and Guaranda have the most well-known celebrations, welcoming thousands of Ecuadorians and tourists to their festivities each year. Ambato is the capital of the province of Tungurahua, located in the northern part of Ecuador, at the foot of the Tungurahua Volcano. Ambato hosts an incredible festival in honor of Carnival known as, “The Festival of the Fruits and Flowers.” Mainly, the festival celebrates the abundance of local fruit and flower production, thanks to Ambato’s rich, volcanic soil. The festival is also a commemoration of the earthquake that took place on August 5th, 1949 which destroyed the city and took as many as 5050 lives. In 1950 the festival was created, and the date of celebration was chosen to fall in the time of Carnival. The festival comes to life with vibrant, colored parade floats decorated with flowers and fruits, specifically apples and pears. The streets are filled with large crowds of spectators, eager to watch the parade, traditional dances and enjoy the live music. The city of Ambato truly comes to life during these celebrations. You will find it interesting to know, that the traditional water, egg, and flower dousing is not allowed in Ambato. South of Ambato, we find the city of Guaranda, located in the province of Bolivar. It is a valley located in the heart of Ecuador. Here, Carnival is celebrated and known as “Fiesta Mayor” or Great Festival. The celebration in Guaranda as well as having aspects similar to Ambato, it also places an important emphasis on indigenous culture. In Guaranda, water, eggs, and flour are the highlight of Carnival. The water represents the fertility of the indigenous lands, while the flour was used by the ancient indigenous tribal leaders in order to imitate a white cloud. From parades to water dousing, there is certainly something for everyone to enjoy during Carnival in Ecuador; whether you’ll enjoy the fruits and flowers in Ambato, or the playful water dousing in Guaranda. It is never too early to start planning your next Carnival Holiday in Ecuador. Take a look at our website to learn more about all the travel opportunities we offer to our guests.