Traditional Christmas Greeting: "Felize Navidad"
Location: South America
Tree Type: Traditional
Decorations: Under the tree are two large dolls. The one with the large straw hat and dark blue shirt comes from the town of Ottavalo in the northern part of the country, the Andes mountain region. The doll is holding the flag of Ecuador and represents the type of clothes worn during festivals, Sundays and holidays. The second doll carries a baby in a basket and represents the Chola Cuencan from the southern part of the country.
The musical installment (Rondador) is made of bamboo and comes from the mountain regions. The fans (Aventador) are found all over Ecuador and are made by the local Indian groups. The Santa basket is made from straw and is a common ornament. The straw ornaments are used for several other festivals during the year. The colors of the decorations signify the festival.
Traditions: Novenas or house tours begin the holiday season nine days before Christmas. Ecuadorians visit other homes at this time looking at the nativity scenes. Children place their Christmas lists into an old shoe waiting for Papa Noel to visit. On Christmas day the children usually will find new shoes and their presents. On Christmas day the families visit relatives and friends. A special cookie is made with maple syrup (Prstinos) is eaten as a special treat.
On New Years Eve it is traditional to dress as clowns so that one may greet the New Year in a happy sprit. Another tradition is to make a dummy and to burn it as a reminder of the ending of the old year and the beginning of the New.