Experience the traditions of Holy Week in Quito
From 2 to 9 April, the capital of Ecuador will be hosting one of its most important religious festivities, featuring elaborate processions, recreations of Biblical passages and stunning traditional costumes.
Main events of Holy Week in Quito
Holy Week begins on 2 April with the Palm Sunday Procession, where thousands of people gather at the Basílica del Voto Nacional to commemorate Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem, accompanying the clergy and traditional figures in a pilgrimage through the main streets of the Historical Centre before holding an outdoor mass and blessing of the palms in Plaza de San Francisco.
On Tuesday, 4 April, Parque Central de Puéllaro will be the backdrop for the Procession of the Andas, platforms depicting 12 passages from the Bible that are carried through the streets of this rural parish on the shoulders of hundreds of the faithful who take part in this unique tradition.
On Wednesday, 5 April, at the Catedral Metropolitana de Quito, the Reseña de la Cruz, more commonly known as the Arrastre de Caudas, or the Dragging of the Capes, is held. This tradition emerged more than 500 years ago in ancient Rome and is now held only in the Capital of the Middle of the World, thus rendering the city a guardian of intangible heritage.
On Thursday, 6 April, the altars are bathed in silver and purple for the Seven Churches Visitation, which symbolises the path taken by Jesus to Mount Calvary. The Historical Centre of Quito opens up its monumental churches, chapels and convents to receive the faithful who take part in this activity.
On the same day, traditional figures of the Quito Holy Week such as holy souls, veronicas, cucuruchos (penitents) and noisemakers are the protagonists of the Procession of Light, which makes its way from the Basílica del Voto Nacional to Plaza de Santo Domingo, led by the Jacchigua Folkloric Ballet.
On Friday, 7 April, the Jesus del Gran Poder Procession once again draws an audience of thousands, who gather in the Historical Centre to follow one of the city’s most important religious expressions, in which the faithful recreate the Stations of the Cross, bearing heavy trunks of up to 50 kilogrammes, accompanied by the chanting, prayers and pleading of the cucuruchos (penitents) and the veronicas.
On Saturday, 8 April, the Blessing of Light is held in Alangasí. In this ceremony, several people personifying the devil wander the streets of the parish celebrating Jesus’ death. These strange figures flee from the church in terror when the priest begins to sing the Easter Proclamation and the church lights are lit.
But when it comes to the stars of Holy Week, we cannot forget the traditional fanesca. A typical dish whose origins date back to the ancestral ceremonies of the Incas in thanks for the harvest, which is made with codfish, representing Jesus, and 12 grains that symbolise the apostles.
For more information visit https://visitquito.ec/