Each of the 14 indigenous nationalities living in Ecuador have their own different traditions and world views. Most of Ecuador's population identify themselves as “mestizo.” However, some people identify with the cultural legacy of basically white Europeans, something that occurs mainly in large cities. In addition to this, there are Cubans and various small groups of immigrants from other countries and continents.
National Cultural InstitutionsThe governmental institutions in charge of the protection and promotion of national Ecuadorian culture are the House of Ecuadorian Culture, the Central Bank of Ecuador, the Coordinating Ministry of Natural and Cultural Heritage, and the Ministry of Culture of Ecuador. The Ministry of Culture, which was created recently, is dedicated to the creation and protection of the national cultural heritage.
Languages & dialectsSpanish is the most commonly spoken language in Ecuador, but it has local variations according to people’s ethnicity, social class or the specific city or rural area. The accent varies a lot from the mountain regions to the coast, and regional dialects and words are often used. However, the population in general still uses some common idioms.
Within the coastal areas, the ‘Coastal Ecuadorian’ dialect is spoken with a slightly ‘Africanised’ variantion. Again, this can vary greatly according to a person’s social status and between urban and rural communities.
In the mountains, an Ecuadorian version of Andean Spanish is commonly spoken. This is characterized by the use of “quichuismos” (words taken from the Quichua language), and also the Kichwa language has a clear influence on pronunciation. There are many regional variations of Andean Spanish, some of which are linked with a person’s social class.
Food & LivingEcuador's cuisine is characterized by great diversity, with food and food traditions varying mainly based on one’s geographic region. The three major culinary regions of Ecuador correspond with its demographic and physical geography. These three regions are the coastal region, the Andean region and the Amazonian region. There are also many dishes that are popular at the national level, the majority being of coastal origin. These include “ceviche” (a seafood dish), dried goat, catfish stew, and “bolon de verde” (fried green plantain dumplings).
Both in the coastal as well as the Andean region, communities have developed an extensive and diverse gastronomic culture that can be subdivided according to one’s province or region. On the contrary, in the Amazonian area, the preparation of dishes is increasingly conforming to that of the Andean region.
Music & FestivalsLittle is known about the history of Ecuadorian music before its contact with European culture (1534). However, it is clear that music in Ecuador has evolved through the age. Now, modern rhythms from abroad, such as techno, rock and pop music, have merged with native rhythms, with Ecuadorian music often incorporating electronic instruments to accompany traditional Ecuadorian music (such as techno-sanjuanito or techno-parade).
Similarly, several foreign musical genres have representatives in Ecuador, further widening the country's musical spectrum.
Among the numerous national festivals of Ecuador, one of the most important is the festival of ‘Quito,’ which is characterized by the presence of town bands and concert platforms in different parts of the city. Another famous national festival is ‘Carnival,’ which is celebrated all over the country, however, it is the carnival celebrations of Ambato and Guaranda which stand out for their popularity.
Finally, among the popular Indigenous festivals, the most important is the “Inti Raymi,” which is when people give thanks for the yearly harvest.