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Carnival and Culture in the Bolivar Province of Ecuador

"The province of Bolivar used to be the country's granary and it still is for those who know it. It lies on the road to the coast, closer to the Guayas province. We arrive during the Carnival season, when many people who once lived in the province or have relatives here come from all over the country to celebrate. If you have friends or family, you have somewhere to sit and watch each of the parades that take place around the province. It starts in San Miguel on Friday, continues in San Jose de Chimbo on Saturday, and culminates on Sunday in Guaranda, with other smaller parades in other towns of the province. Let's talk about the people and the dance troupes: men start taking photos with the people who are part of the parade, they offer liquor to the men who dance, given by other men. But there are always people throwing water balloons at everyone in the parade, which disrupts the choreography.

The weather during the Carnival season, especially in the Sierra, starts sunny but by the afternoon it usually rains, so wetting and splashing other people is not always pleasant. However, it's a tradition, and at some point, people became aware of water usage. That's why the "carioca" (a type of cornstarch) and flour became means of celebrating the Carnival. In a province that generates tourism, it changes its face once a year, because it's a place that feels like "100 Years of Solitude" the rest of the year, but during Carnival, there are more people. Let's celebrate the folklore and cultures we have as a country, and learn from them."

And once a year, when the corn is still tender, its leaves are used to make 'chiwiles,' a traditional dish that is only made in the central southern region of the country. Families gather to make them, passing down an ancestral recipe from generation to generation, a recipe from our indigenous ancestors in the area. These are recipes that are not from the Spanish colonial period, which brought us the way of cooking pork. These are the recipes that remind us of the importance of using corn flour and that make us appreciate our Ecuadorian culture even more.

Collaboration N.


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