Journey to South America – Otavalo Market and Craft Villages of Ecuador

Journey to South America – Otavalo Market and Craft Villages of Ecuador

Two hours north of Quito in Ecuador, set in a verdant valley surrounded by excessive Andean peaks is the colourful city of Otavalo. This area may need turn into one other area referred to as the Switzerland of Ecuador if it weren’t for the very gifted indigenous individuals who found a method to create a contemporary enterprise whereas preserving their cultural heritage – these folks and their tradition give the Otavalo Valley its distinctive taste.

The folks of Otavalo have been identified to the Spaniards and Incas earlier than them as essentially the most gifted weavers within the kingdom. On Saturdays, folks got here from everywhere in the area to Otavalo to purchase or commerce what they wanted – swapping a llama for brand spanking new garments for the household or a basket filled with tropical fruits for a brand new saddle.

In the course of the colonization of Ecuador, the Otavalo Valley and its inhabitants have been integrated into the Hacienda system. The King of Spain ceded huge landholdings to the county’s most vital households. The natives have been allowed to remain on the land below the safety of the native hacienda proprietor and got meals and clothes in change for working the land and producing handicrafts. Life at the moment was not straightforward as many hacienda homeowners have been merciless and the native folks have been handled like slaves.

The Otavalenos are a proud individuals who have continued their rituals and handed them down from era to era – a few of which have blended and blended with traditions realized from the Spaniards, however which nonetheless stay distinctive. The Otavalonos are very distinctive, many nonetheless converse Quecha and gown of their conventional garments. The lads might be recognized by their white mid-calf trousers, blue ponchos, lengthy pigtails and felt hats. Girls put on lengthy layered skirts, white cotton blouses adorned with ornate embroidery, rows of beaded necklaces and bracelets, a wide range of hats and woven materials tied over the shoulders for carrying infants or different gadgets.

Over the centuries, these native folks and their traditions haven’t modified. Nevertheless, in the course of the agrarian reforms of the Nineteen Sixties and Nineteen Seventies, the rich Hacienda noticed their lands divided, gone have been the large estates with hundreds of staff. The federal government granted smaller farms to the natives. After years of exhausting work, native folks acquired their very own farms and villages and a brand new period started.

But, as lots of the world’s cultures started to fade away and these distinctive cultural identities appeared to mix into an on a regular basis world of Levis and Nike, the artful people at Otavalo found a means for his or her tradition to outlive and be handed on to folks. future generations. They have not modified; as an alternative, they opened their market and workshops to vacationers looking for their very own Nationwide Geographic trip expertise.

Reasonably than counting on trendy equipment the place most gadgets are produced in seconds or minutes, the way in which of the Otavalenos continued an age-old observe the place a single textile can take weeks. The method begins with creating the yarn, dyeing it to your chosen shade, then hand weaving one coloration at a time to create the right poncho. Guests are welcomed into the clay-floored workshops to gaze in awe because the grasp weavers would create artistic endeavors.

Villages within the surrounding valley with related practices open their workshops so the general public can see artisans produce the whole lot from musical devices and woodcarvings to leather-based items and felt hats. The Haciendas have additionally opened as a luxurious resort possibility for guests wishing to discover this distinctive area and the methods of a bygone period.

Handicrafts from the Otavalenos and close by villages can be found at native workshops in addition to on the Otavalo market day by day. Saturday is a very powerful day and early within the morning you can be surrounded by many locals dressed of their conventional garments, the clucking of chickens, the chatter of guinea pigs and the cries of cattle market pigs. To see this a part of the market that you must get there early as a result of at 7am the sounds of the animals begin to fade because the market transforms. gold from the favored craft market.

Combining a go to to Otavalo Market, native craft villages with a keep at a historic Hacienda is among the hottest and rewarding cultural experiences for these visiting Ecuador or the Galapagos Islands.

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Supply by Teresa Hotchkin

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