Ecuador is a country that reflects its deep faith in every corner, through deeply rooted cultural expressions and an art dedicated to the divine, Quito is a place that represents this religiosity, with seasonal processions and multitudinous rituals, with the historical presence of churches that present a receptacle of Christian art, heritage of the Spanish colony.
Artisans, candles and children God
One learns of the religiosity of Quito by just walking through the streets of its Historic Center, finding a series of shops with small sculptures of the Baby Jesus, each dressed in a different way. One of the most well-known stores is the Sacred Mantle, in Rocafuerte and García Moreno where you can see police, cowboy, Pope or chef, among many others… The candle shops offer a variety of sizes, shapes and prices to the faithful. One of the emblematic places is on Flores Street, and it is called Luz de América, one of the oldest.
It is what most attracts attention in terms of religious events, fascinates locals and foreigners. It begins with a series of concerts of medieval and baroque classical music, it is the Festival of Sacred Music, during which different ensembles from various parts of the world come to Quito to perform at the historic landmarks of our city, such as in the inside of La Compañía de Jesus and in the Plaza de San Francisco.
It begins with the colorful procession of Domingo de Ramos, where hundreds of Quiteños arrive with herds of different herbs and palms. On Holy Tuesday in the town of Puéllaro there is a picturesque night procession with candles. On Holy Wednesday there is an ancient and very special ritual, it is the Dragging Caudas, in the Primate Cathedral. On Thursday there is a foot washing and the procession of silence, a night procession to the different churches of the Historical Center. Holy Friday is the peak of the celebrations, which is carried out through several Jesús del Gran Poder processions, mainly in the Historical Center and in several points of the city, with a multitudinal convocation.
Apart from Easter Week, there are other dates and rituals of religious interest. The Day of the Dead, celebrated on November 2, brings families together in the cemeteries, where, with “guaguas de pan” and “colada morada”, celebrate this day.
Churches, visiting them is the most obvious way to do religious tourism. There are many, and many of them will dazzle you. If a trip takes this theme, you can spend whole days touring them.
The importance of pre-Columbian religiosity in Quito caused the Spaniards to fill the Historic Center with churches by conquering the city. Each one of these churches were part of a new culture, and above all, of a new art, which was dominated by what we call the Quito School, the finest example of baroque art in the Americas.
Do not miss:
The bulkhead at the entrance to the Sagrario church, work of Bernardo de Legarda
The paintings of the painter Víctor Mideros on the top of the church of La Merced.
The celestial cupola of The Company, which boasts a singed face.
The choir at the San Francisco church.
The beautiful portals of San Agustín church, El Sagrario and Carmen Bajo.
The works of Caspicara and Legarda in the Metropolitan Cathedral.
The Winged Virgin of the atrium of San Francisco and other versions in the Museum Fray Pedro Gocial.
Visit the museums of Miguel de Santiago when you visit the church of San Agustín, Fray Pedro Gocial in San Francisco and Fray Pedro Bedón in Santo Domingo.
The cloistered life, a hidden treasure
The cloisters of Quito are a religious world frozen in time, within a contemporary city, an impenetrable bubble in which the past is still alive. Religious still reside inside, isolated, with medieval traditions.
Outside, the time is now
Lathes, the cloister lathes are still visited, it is the only connection with the outside world and through them access to delights made inside.
Museums, colonial art is now exhibited in the cloister museums of Carmen Alto and Santa Catalina de Siena.
Wisdom, religious elaborate unique delights, such as caramelized lemon or fruit wines grown in their gardens. They are sought after for their remedies that cure everything from a simple cough to depression.