May 24th, is a major holiday in Ecuador. It is the historical celebration of the “Battle of Pichincha”, and thus is the name of the holiday. The holiday celebrates a battle that occurred at 3,500 meters above sea level, on the mountain sides of the Pichincha volcano, near the modern day city of Quito. It was during the year 1822 and was the battle that gave Quito independence from Spain. It was just one battle of many that were part of the Ecuadorian War of Independence, that would relieve Ecuador from the rule of the Spaniards.
This year, the holiday will largely be celebrated over the coming weekend from Thursday through Sunday, where most people will have the four day weekend off from school and work.
This historical event will be commemorated through parades, celebration, and displays of Ecuadorian pride. In smaller towns and villages, the parades are often presented by school aged students. In the larger cities, parades are organized and performed by the military.
On the Pichincha volcano, special activities and events are available to the public, including an air show by the Ecuadorian Air Force.
All of these celebrates are enjoyed and appreciated by the locals as well as the visitors and tourists.
Myself and our family are particularly excited for this upcoming holiday weekend. While we were here for Easter, we learned that it isn’t observed as we expected, and was largely a quiet and somber holiday. There were not any activities to participate in outside of the church (which we don’t belong to).
This will be our first independently Ecuadorian holiday and I am eager to see what it will bring.
Even my husband, has no idea what the celebration of this province and village will be. It is sure to be a new experience for all of us.
We have been told to expect extra visitors and tourists, but that is the extent of our knowledge and expectations.
In observance with the holiday, we will be focusing on giving our children any cultural and social opportunities that may arise. We will also talk about age appropriate local history, for example: the meaning of the Ecuadorian flag, national symbols, and relevant music.