The 2-day Carnival holiday in Ecuador comes each year in February or March, as in many other significantly Roman Catholic countries. The date varies, but it always immediately precedes Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of a 40-day Lenten fast leading up to Easter.
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There is a combination of small, family celebrations and large big-city parades, and Andean dress and traditions have been incorporated into what was originally just a Catholic holiday from Spain.
The largest and wildest Carnival parties in Ecuador take place in the town of Guaranda, where the potent liquor “Blue Bird” is brewed and drunk in excess. In other towns, local corn spirits called “chicha” are often passed out and consumed by people watching the Carnival parade pass by.
The prankster aspect of Carnival in Ecuador is probably the most unique. People “attack” each other with squirt guns, buckets of water, “party foam”, and dyed flour. Sneak attacks are especially popular, and even strangers just passing by are considered fair targets.