Get Ready for Fiestas de Quito
Though already marked by controversy with the canceling of Quito’s quintessential act of celebration, the bullfights, this year’s “Fiestas de Quito” will still have more than 450 events held during the next three weeks for residents and visitors alike.
Fiestas de Quito is the capital city’s celebration to honor its founding, officially marked as December 6, 1534 when 204 Spanish conquerors entered the city where the Spanish would remain for three centuries during their colonial reign. Though the Spanish many years ago, their influence has remained to the present day. Though the diminishing cultural spectacle of the “toros” would seem a significant blow to the city, ever since the 1960s Quito’s annual celebration has grown in ways previously unimaginable.
Fiestas de Quito is a time when the city is packed with multiple music concerts, food celebrations, parades, dances, go-cart races, bike rides, fireworks, sport tournaments, card tournaments, theater presentations, and other spectacles that are just hard to categorize.
The celebrations have already begun but they genuinely kick-in starting Friday November 30 and running through December 6. The election of the Queen of Quito is always central to the celebrations, but not be overlooked is the election of the Senior Citizen Queen and the Inter-Parish Queen, newer additions to Quito’s December royalty.
The Cuarenta (forty) card tournament brings out the best card players in Quito. If you don’t know how to play, come and learn.
Annual wooden go-cart races will have an elimination series before the final takes place in El Centro on Saturday December 1st.
And athletes can demonstrate their prowess in the areas of soccer, biking, and a triathlon tournament; though, the rarest sporting spectacle is reserved for Quito’s “Pelotal Nacional” (translated National Ball), an odd cultural display where competitors swing medieval looking racquets to knock around a large bouncy ball.
The largest crowds, without question, form for the music concerts, of which there are always plenty. For six straight days enjoy the official municipal concerts starring Ruben Blades, Julieta Venegas, Fausto Miño, and dozens of well-known local groups, or dance and enjoy the rhythms of the private shows in restaurants and hotels throughout the city, many of which host their own parties.
For a complete list of events, download a schedule here.
Every town has its annual party to celebrate the founding of its city.