CULTURE: GENERAL INFORMATION
According to thesciencetutor, the Ecuadorian ethnic mosaic, at the base of the traditions and cultures present in the country, has found a synthesis, often colorful, in the urban centers, but the inland areas have remained the predominance of the Indians, in turn divided into tribes and lineages of different origins and nevertheless, united by a lifestyle that has been practically intact for centuries. The rich artistic and archaeological heritage (from 3200 BC) can be traced back to these indigenous presences of ancient date, to which the contributions of the Inca empire and colonial architecture have been added over time, to arrive at modern and contemporary productions, however, they too are never totally disconnected from their native roots, as in primitivist painting or in indigenist literature. In reality, Ecuador’s literary path followed a line common to several Latin American countries, starting from the aforementioned indigenist “base”, to evolve into a first flourishing development due to the work of the Jesuits, which was followed by a period of relative anonymity between the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, an awakening linked to the demands of independence and a twentieth-century development, which blossomed from modernism. The birth in Ecuador of a theatrical movement, however, orphan of any pre-Columbian inheritance, which has been lost, must also be ascribed to the work of the missionaries. The wealth of the national artistic and cultural heritage finds splendid synthesis in Quito, the capital, whose old city has been part, since 1978, of the UNESCO protected sites, together with the historic center of Santa Ana de los Ríos de Cuenca (1999).
The traditions spread throughout the country retain a marked ethnic imprint, variously combined, to which is added the presence, in some sections of the territory, of numerous tribes that maintain a lifestyle that can be defined as primitive in all respects. Peculiar traits of the culture of the Indians are, for example, religious practices, resulting from the encounter between ancient beliefs and Catholic worship: they venerate Christ and at the same time the sacred mountain Imbabura. Great importance is also given to the fiesta, generally made to coincide with a recurrence of the Catholic calendar and animated by songs, dances and a display of traditional costumes (colored dresses, skirt open on one side and shawl for women; poncho For the men). The panama hat, an indispensable complement, is the national headdress. These are the occasions in which the most characteristic music of the Andes is played with typical stringed instruments or bamboo flutes, including the sanjuanito or the pasillos, living testimonies of the precociously canceled pre-Columbian world. The ceremonies connected with birth, marriage (very complex) and death persist (for dead children it is not customary to cry; needle and thread are placed next to the grave of the adult because the dress of the deceased can tear in the long journey beyond the life). Completely different is the world of the Amazon, where they still live, often refusing contact with whites, primitive tribes (such as the jívaros), as well as primitive life also lead, in the Sierra, the colorados, remnants of a tribe that once occupied the whole territory of Ecuador. Ecuadorian cuisine, based on corn and rice, is substantially poor and not very varied: the use of meat is scarce; the most typical dishes are the colada, widespread in the Andes and made of meat with corn flour, and the seviche, widespread throughout the country and made with pieces of fish macerated in lemon juice. Among the drinks, the one obtained from naranjilla (whose taste combines the aromas of pineapple and orange) is characteristic. The Amazonian tribes basically consume cassava, which together provides the bread and the said drink chicha. The craftsmanship is particularly developed in the textile sectors, the production of panama hats, the processing of objects in wood, leather and gold and silver. In sports, the game of football is very popular, but a kind of ball punch (pelota de mano) is also very popular. Other popular disciplines are basketball and volleyball; pastimes such as cock and bull fights also persist in rural areas.