Ecuador's Independence Day by anamaulida

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									Batalla de PinchinchaIn Canada, May 24th weekend (referred to as May 2-
4), brings up visions of lakes, cottages, s'mores and a 24 pack of beer
by a campfire! Memorial day in the US is celebrated differently, but at
the end of the day...we all get a long weekend!Like in any country,
Ecuador celebrates several national holidays. Many people are simply
excited to have a day off work and school but of course, behind every
nationally-proclaimed holiday, there is history! On May 24th, La Batalla
de Pichincha ("The Battle of Pinchincha") is celebrated all across
Ecuador in a variety of ways. The last battle of independence for Ecuador
took place during the Spanish colonial period in 1822 and is a period
studied in detail within the Ecuadorian school system. Of all outrageous
locations for a historical fight to take place, this particular battle
took place on the Pichincha volcano (hence, the name of the holiday).
This important battle, at 3500 meters above sea level, is commemorated
every year on the anniversary of the day the original war was fought: May
24th.Currently, school aged students celebrate this historical event with
small parades in towns and villages, honoring their country's history and
taking pride in all that is Ecuador. Often in larger Ecuadorian cities,
parades are performed by the military and enjoyed by tourists, visitors,
and locals alike. On Pichincha itself there are some activities for
people to partake in and watch, such as the air force flying above. In
Galapagos, the local school kids generally have a small parade down Calle
Baltra (the main street that runs North-South) and along Charles Darwin
Avenue through Puerto Ayora (Santa Cruz Island) and past the Navy base.
Students dress in school uniforms and the student with the highest grades
in his or her class has the privilege of carrying the Ecuadorian flag
through the community, leading the class in the parade. If you are
visiting Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands on this important historical
day, try and find time to stop and enjoy the local events - it may not be
the most fascinating of Ecuadorian holidays, but it definitely conveys a
true sense of what it means to be Ecuadorian and the pride people take in
their country. The celebration of the Battle of Pinchincha is a day of
national pride and of Ecuadorian patriotism. It demonstrates a strong
sense of the people, their history, and their culture.

								
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