An Independent School • Grades 5-12

by Kurt O. '20

Many of the holidays and celebrations in Kichwa culture, along with the traditions that come with them, are much different than those I experience in the states. At home, many of the holidays are created by a historical or religious date. Several of these same holidays are shared by Ecuadorian culture, like Christmas. However, the traditions practiced are very different. 

For instance, a couple days ago, the group went to a village, perched upon one of the two “protecting” volcanoes of the valley. Prior to cooking our meal, we sang and danced to the mountains and offered a scented wood to the spirits. Typically, this routine is only practiced during “special occasions,” which weren’t specified by the community leaders. In addition, several holidays are practiced annually celebrating different stages in the corn-harvesting process, which ended earlier this summer. 

As you can tell, many of the holidays and traditions celebrated by the Kichwa culture are celebrations of nature, like the geography that surrounds them and the changing of the seasons. This made me realize how ungrateful I am for the weather and food I eat in Seattle, because I don’t understand the agricultural lifestyle that numerous people in Ecuador practice. Luckily, living with a family who produces the majority of their food for themselves has taught me how much weather and geography matter. Similar to in the United States, lots of good food is made for holidays except the food here is tastier since almost all of it comes straight from the farm.