Ecuador has a healthy share of public holidays. It can be useful to know when these are for a number of reasons. Some public holidays in Ecuador are worth visiting the country for as there are interesting events going on that are worth a look. In most cases, as in many other countries, you can expect fewer businesses to be open on public holidays, and banks will definitely be shut during national holidays in Ecuador.
One thing that is true of all public holidays in Ecuador is that Ecuadorians will travel! Many Ecuadorians living in the big cities such as Quito, travel to the coast for their time off. This means that popular coastal destinations can get very busy indeed, and major roads from the main cities to the coast can also be busy. Another point that is worth noting that when a holiday falls on a midweek day, it is generally observed on
the nearest Friday or Monday. We can advise you on when any particular holiday will fall exactly each year, in case you are planning your trip around a specific Ecuador public holiday.
As you might expect, New Year’s Day or 1 st January 2019 is a public holiday. As in many other countries of the world on this day, you can expect the streets to be quieter than usual as people recover from their celebrations from the previous evening. New Year’s Eve in itself is not a holiday, but it is an interesting time to be on the streets in Ecuador as people burn effigies, to say goodbye to the year past.
This holiday of two days falls directly before Ash Wednesday, and as such, it moves around in the calendar each year. In 2019, the dates for Carnival are 4th and 5th March. During carnival the main thrust of the celebration involves people throwing water over each other. Watch out so you don’t get drenched! Interestingly, while these days are public holidays, Ecuadorians are required to make up the hours by working on the following two Saturdays.
As in many Christian countries, Good Friday is a public holiday. In 2019 the date for this is 19th April. Maundy Thursday (the day before Good Friday), Holy Saturday and Easter Sunday (the two days after Good Friday) are also observed, but are not official public holidays.
May Day or Labor Day is a national holiday in Ecuador. The public holiday falls on 1 st May.
On 24th May, Ecuadorians celebrate the Battle of Pichincha. The Battle of Pichincha was fought on the Pichincha volcano, and the celebration commemorates the winning of independence for Quito.
On 24th July 2019 there is a public holiday to celebrate Simon Bolivar’s birthday memorial.
Independence Day celebrates the day when Ecuador gained its independence from the Spanish. The biggest demonstrations happen in Quito and, in the latest years, the city hall has organized the Fiesta de la Luz to commemorate this date.
This is a public holiday held on 9th October to celebrate the anniversary of the independence of Ecuador’s largest city.
In 2019, All Souls Day is celebrated on 2nd November. All Souls Day is otherwise known as Day of the Dead, and respects are paid today to those that have passed away. In Ecuador this is also celebrated by drinking a thick purple drink (colada morada) and eating bread (guaguas de pan).
The date for this public holiday which celebrates the independence of Ecuador’s third largest city is 3 rd November in 2019. If you are in Cuenca at that time you can expect to see dancing and partying, as well as parades.
As a Christian country, Ecuador observes 25th December, or Christmas Day as a public holiday. Don’t expect to find many businesses open on Christmas Day. Of note, as in many European countries, the celebration of Christmas is on 24th December, and families gather in the evening of 24th to exchange gifts.
Founding of Quito Day - It is worth noting that 6th December is the day on which Ecuadorians, or particularly Quitenos, celebrate the founding of Quito in 1534. This is a regional holiday. In fact, while only 6th is a public holiday, Quitenos celebrate this event for almost 10 days prior to the actual day, with a lot of festivities in particular on 5th and 6th December.
Summer solstice falls on 21 st June 2019. This is not an Ecuador public holiday, but it is an interesting time to be traveling in Ecuador. This is because it is a particularly important event for indigenous groups up and down the country. These groups celebrate the summer solstice rather colorfully in many cases, and if you are lucky you might get to see some of the villagers’ festivities.