"CASTILLOS" Quito Local Custom Tip by swesn

Quito Local Customs: 51 reviews and 98 photos

I came across this typically Ecuadorian celebration by chance! It was the evening of 23 September and they were celebrating the Virgen de La Merced on the plaza in front of La Merced.

In the evening, these guys started preparing some form of structures with bamboo sticks. These tall structures are called 'castillos' (castles) which have a series of fireworks that get ignited from the bottom to the top by one light.

At 8pm, the first of the fireworks soon got ignited. Gosh, I had never seen anything like this before! There were about 3 or 4 layers of fireworks. As the first one lights up, there may be a display of spinning or normal fireworks. As that gets burnt off, somehow, the next level of display will be lighted up automatically and another set of display will continue. So, we had words commerating the event being lighted up, a rabbit that dances as the fireworks lit up around it, then, structures that appeared to fall down, but were actually ?flowers? opening up upon being lighted? Wow, it was such a fascinating sight!!!

We screamed and hid from the spits of fire as the fireworks advanced through the structure, and then, oohed and aahed over the beautiful spinning or twirling or dancing or whatever displays. At the very end, there would be fireworks being shot into the sky, seemingly endlessly! I could not believe how dangerous this was, because some of these fireworks that shot up into the sky, had burning sticks that fell back down to earth! Imagine, being struck by one such stick-on-fire!! I did not think there were any paramedics around.

The second structure got lighted up in pretty much the same way, to more shouts and delights. I was thoroughly floored by how these structures with fireworks were created. They were made of bamboos!!! And yet they opened up into displays like a church with a scroll of the Virgin unfolded, display of a star, etc? Terribly impressive!

Review Helpfulness: 2.5 out of 5 stars

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  • Written Nov 1, 2007
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