The Fiestas of Yamor in Otavalo, Otavalo Indian Market Tours

By: Eric Castro

The Kichwa indigenous groups that inhabit the Otavalo area celebrate four great festivals that coincide with the two solstices and the two equinoxes. These festivals - each with its corresponding rituals and symbols -- are tied to the Andean agricultural cycle and specifically to corn or maize, a symbol of fertility. Corn is an essential symbol of the cultural festivals in Otavalo.

The festivity of Yamor or Koya Raimi is a celebration to Mother Earth that coincides with the Autumn Equinox in September, when Otavalo Indigenous people thank Mother Earth

The rituals for preparation of the land for planting begin in September, when the energy and the power of the sun is absorbed by the seeds that return to the earth and guard the mysteries of the beginning of life. The start of the rainy season in Ecuador highlands nurtures the seeds.

During Yamor, a special beverage, prepared only for these celebrations, is made from seven varieties of dried corn or jora (popcorn, chulpi, hominy, yellow maize, white maize, red maize and black maize) . The preparation of the chicha de jora is a special ritual, sacred and apt to be offered to Mother Earth.

Events during the Yamor festivities include parades, the election of the Yamor Queen, and a festival of folk dances; bullfights, cockfights, competitions and more.

Everyone is welcome to join the Yamor festivities in Otavalo, the city where the famous Indian market takes place all year round. Currently, the festivities are a fusion of the pre-Hispanic traditions with the religiousness brought by the Spanish. Otavalenos feel a deep compromise to perpetuate and joyfully celebrate the eternal cycle of life. Live this unique cultural experience!

Asia Destinations
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 
 • 

» More on Asia Destinations