During a few days at the end of September and the first weekend of November, La Mama Negra festival takes place in the town of Latacunga, located one hour south of Quito. The festival has unknown origins, but it is believed that it relates to the people’s uprising, liberation, and independence from the Spanish. There is a big parade featuring five main cast members, dignitaries, and military: El Abanderado – a soldier with red hat, blue shirt and white pants holding a flag, El Ángel de la Estrella – the Angel of the Stars on a white horse, El Capitán – a captain in a yellow suit and mohawk hat holding a sword, El Rey Moro – a representation of the three wise men, and La Mama Negra herself who is performed by a local authority or notable resident who dresses as a woman painted in black. This festival celebrates the integration of the cultural aspects and mixes of the Spanish, African and Inca influences in the region.
During these days of celebration, there are parades all over town, featuring colorful costumes. The tradition dictates that people throw candy and offer liquor to the crowds.
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