The Festival of San Juan
This is a very ancient tradition. Every year on June 23rd we celebrate the service for Saint John the Babtist with a grand party called the festival of San Juan. At nightfall people go from house to house, dancing, singing and playing instruments like the guitar. Those families that have a picture or painting of San Juan decorate a “castillo” (a wooden frame that hangs on the wall) where they tie food, like bread, bananas, pineapples, oranges and also liquor and money. They also prepare the traditional “kaspashca” which is made of corn and beans that the region has in abundance during this time of the year.
On June 24th Hacienda Zuleta hosts “La Rama de Gallos”. Lots of people come to this spectacle; not only from our community, but also from other villages and even from the capital Quito and from abroad. The “Rama de Gallos” consists of the following – first of all two horses which are decorated in a special way enter the courtyard of the hacienda. The first horse carries in a child that will give a special speech called the “Loa”. The second horse brings in twelve live cocks which are tied to the horse. Eight women lead the horse with belts that are also a kind of decoration for the horse – they wear embroidered blouses and the typical skirt that we call “anaco”. They are accompanied by other women who throw oranges and candies into the crowd. These women are chosen by the head of the “Rama”, the “Prioste”. Also every “Rama de Gallo” has its own fireworks.
When sun sets after this special day some groups keep going from house to house dancing and singing and with that the traditional festivities of San Juan in Zuleta come to an end.