Easter in Quito

Holy Week in Quito, capital of Ecuador, is a very special time of year, when faith and tradition join together to become the largest, most important liturgical and cultural event of the year.

At this time of the year the city comes alive with pageants and prayer as this most Catholic of cities mourns the death of the Christ and then celebrates his return from death on Easter Sunday.

Festivities begin on Palm Sunday, which commemorates the arrival of Jesus Christ into Jerusalem. The procession is set in the streets of the historic old town. Here, the faithful carry their palms to be blessed and later placed in a special corner of their homes.

The Dragging of the Trains, a ritual inherited from the Roman Empire’s military tradition, is re-enacted in Quito on Holy Wednesday since the sixteenth century, where the Metropolitan Cathedral pays homage to Jesus Christ, the “Fallen General”.

On Holy Thursday, Chrism Mass is celebrated. Oil for the catechumens, the sick, baptism and confirmation is blessed. On the same day, the washing of the feet takes place, which remembers Christ’s humility when Jesus washed the feet of His Disciples. The faithful can visit the city churches of the historic centre, elevated to the stature of monuments during this special date, to remember Jesus’ steps.

On Friday, the religious community of Quito begins a busy day of religious faith and celebration praying the Stations of the Cross. At noon, the climactic procession of Jesus Almighty begins at San Francisco, a spectacular pilgrimage that draws thousands of spectators to the Historic Centre to witness the Passion of Christ.    

On Holy Saturday the Temple of San Francisco hosts the ceremony of Our Lady of Sorrows, a liturgy in which the faithful offer prayers and songs to the Virgin Mary and her lost child.

On Easter Sunday, Catholics celebrate the culmination of Holy Week and the beginning of a new liturgical season with a solemn Pontifical Mass.

In addition to the activities taking place in the city, the Metropolitan District parishes offer a wide variety of traditional Easter celebrations.

If you wish to experience this mass outpouring of faith and belief in the surrounds of one of the world’s highest cities, then Quito is the place to be for believers and non-believers alike.

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