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New Year’s Eve in Ecuador – Travel Video Ep. 19

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We celebrate fun Ecuador traditions on New Year’s Eve in this HD travel video from 2 Backpackers, Jason and Aracely Castellani, while visiting Chone, Ecuador during the Holidays.  In travel video episode #19, we join Aracely’s family in her hometown of Chone to experience the chaos that is New Year’s Eve in Ecuador. Enjoy the show!

travel video

Ecuador Travel - Año Viejo / Saying Goodbye to the Old Year

Año Viejo / Old Year

Ecuador traditions are wild on New Year’s Eve. More attention is given to saying goodbye to the old year instead of celebrating the new year. Ecuadorians build life-size dummies or dolls that typically represent negativity in the Old Year. Considerable effort is sometimes invested in building your doll, or you can buy them off the streets. Some will build wire frames, stuff them with fireworks and cover them with paper and plaster before finally painting them. Others build stuffed dummies and purchase a famous head or mask to complete their person.

In addition to the traditional aspect of burning a hated figure such as a politician, today’s Ecuadorians also burn characters such as Bart Simpson and Michael Jackson for fun.

travel video

Ecuador Travel - Fireworks during New Year

Fireworks, Dancing and Food in Ecuador

The burning of the dolls is the most unique New Year’s Eve tradition, but not the only one. Bonfires of dummies and dolls litter the streets while fireworks and music fill the air until daybreak. As is the case with any Latin holiday, Ecuadorians will dance the night away, only stopping to eat dinner after midnight.

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Ecuador Travel - Young Boys Dressed as Widows on New Year

During the day most will parade their creations, the dolls and dummies, around town for everyone to appreciate before the midnight burning. Also, during the day, young boys will dress up as widows (made widows from the burning dolls) dancing in the streets for passing cars as they beg for money. Be careful on the highways, where they hold ropes across the street forcing cars to stop and acknowledge them.

If you looking for a unique, chaotic, loud, but fun experience, travel to Ecuador for New Year’s Eve.

A Special Thanks to Chone, Ecuador

We want to specifically thank Aracely’s family in Chone, Ecuador for hosting us during the Holidays and sharing their Ecuador traditions and homes with us. Being away from home during Christmas and New Year’s Eve when traveling around the world can be depressing, but having met new family made it a unique experience we will never forget. Thank you.

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Jeremy says:

Hahaha I actually cracked up watching that video. that one dude has moves and the other guy who cheap shotted the doll in his cajones was ruthless! Happy new year!

Glad you guys enjoyed it. This video captures culture better than any other video we have produced. And it’s family, so that makes it special. That groin shot was brutal.

jaredvork says:

I spent New Year’s Eve in Quito in 1999. It was a blast. I remember the bonfires in the streets making it hard for my taxi to take me home, but it was spectacular to see the fires and celebrations. President Jamil Mahuad (who was ousted just a few weeks later) was a popular doll that year.

Our party was in the country, and as I said to Troy above, I can’t image how much crazier it gets in the city. Would love to see it sometime. We burned the president too. Seems to be a popular choice.

Rease says:

This sounds awesome! The burning of the dolls is really interesting, I would like to experience that. However, it does sound like a serious fire hazard too!

Oh there were lots of fire hazards that night, but besides the burning lawn in the video, I think everyone survived unharmed. It’s an unique party to witness.

T-roy says:

Indeed, no one does New Years like Ecuadorians! Is insane the madness but so much fun. Good video man, next time you guys need to go to Ambato for NYE but then again if you got family that makes all the difference in the world.

I agree Troy, New Year’s in Ecuador is the best I have seen. I would love to try a city next time like Quito or Ambato. We were in the country and it was still incredibly fun, so I can’t image the city atmosphere. But, yes, it does help being surrounded by family.

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