Holy Week in Quito

02/Abril/2012 | 11:05


For the Roman Catholic Community in Quito Holy Week is undoubtedly the most important event commemorating Christian faith and it competes with the largest public gatherings during the year, possibly outdoing the Independence and "Fiestas de Quito" celebrations.


For visitors Semana Santa is a great opportunity to witness the astonishing zeal Quiteños show towards religion, while admiring lithurgical rituals and traditions, which shed light on the cultural complexities of a mixed heritage.


During Holy Week, visitors can also taste the delectable blend of indigenous and Spanish cuisines in the popular fanesca dish, a unique soup that combines flavors from both the Andes and the coast - an elaborate and hearty treat that will make this week in Quito truly unforgettable. 


Holy Week begins April 1, with Palm Sunday, and culminates in the events of Easter Sunday, one week later. Here is how to observe and participate:




 Date: April 1

 Times: 8:30 AM and 7:30 PM

 Place: Squares and churchs of the Historic Center


Palm Sunday, a religious date commemorating the entrance of Jesus into Jerusalem, where he was received with palms and olive branches, symbols of peace. The historic center becomes the stage of several important religious ceremonies, complemented by cultural events such as the Church Bell Concert.




8:00 a.m. El Sagrario Church: Blessing of palms and procession to the Cathedral.

8:45 a.m. Cathedral Cburch: Pontifical Mass presided by the Archbishop of Quito.

9:00 a.m. Basilica Church: Procession to Plaza San Francisco beginning at the Basilica. Route: Basilica, Venezuela, Manabí, García Moreno, Sucre, Benalcázar, Plaza San Francisco.

11:00 a.m. Plaza San Francisco: Open-air Mass, Singing of Eucharist and Blessing of Palms.

6:00 p.m. Plaza del Teatro: The procession begins here and moves toward San Francisco Plaza, where the Church Bell Concert takes place; special performance by the Jacchigua Folk Ballet.

7:30 p.m. Plaza San Francisco: Church Bell Concert. All church bells throughout the Historic Center are tolled.



Date: April 4

Time: 12:00

Place: The Cathedral of Quito 6


On April 4, at noon, the Municipal Cathedral is stage to the "Arrastre de Caudas," or Dragging of the Cape procession, a unique tradition that only takes place in three cities worldwide: Quito, Lima and Seville. The Dragging of the Cape is a solemn ceremony that celebrates every Holy Wednesday, symbolizing the mournful hours for the death of Jesus Christ. The cape travels the Cathedral so that the virtues of Jesus Christ pass down to the faithful. For those who wish to participate, it is recommended that you reach the Cathedral approximately 2 hours before the event begins, since the Dragging of the Capes is one of the most popular ceremonies of Holy Week.



April 5, 2012


Time: 8:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.


On Holy Thursday the Pontifical Chrismal Mass of Oils takes place in The Municipal Cathedral at 8:30 a.m., presided by the Archbishop of Quito. At 5:30 p.m. Pontifical Mass for the Last Supper, washing of the feet and procession of the Blessed Sacrament to the Monument, takes place in The Cathedral.

The churches decorate their altars with silver and cloths and, among other things, a tabernacle is positioned with a chalice on top in remembrance of Jesus who has been captured.

After these ceremonies, at 6:00 p.m., a tour of the seven monuments of the Historic Center begins. And more than 10 churches open their doors to exhibit their most sublime altars on the night of Holy Thursday (until 10:00 p.m.).  




April 6, 2012

Time: 7:00 -18:30

Place: San Francisco and Historic Centre streets


Good Friday is received with the Jesus Almighty procession, a religious tradition that was reinstated in the country in 1960. It is currently one of the most spectacular expressions of religious faith in the city. It gathers thousands of people throughout the historic center. In the late afternoon, at 6:00 p.m., the ceremony of the Seven Words takes place in the Convent of Santo Domingo, which ends with the Lord of Silence Procession that begins in Santo Domingo Square.

7:00-10:00 a.m.: Confessions at San Francisco Convent

8:00 a.m.: Via Crucis Prayer at San Francisco Church

11:45 a.m.: Reading of Jesus Christ’s Sentence, at the Atrium of San Francisco.


Almighty Jesus Procession (Historic Center)

Begins: Plaza San Francisco

Time: Noon


Route: Plaza San Francisco, Calles Bolívar, Venezuela north to Manabí, Vargas, José Riofrío, Venezuela, Manabí, García Moreno, Sucre and Plaza San Francisco.


Almighty Jesus Procession (South Quito)

Begins: "Virgen del Quinche" Church at Barrio La Unión

Time: Noon


Route: "Virgen del Quinche" Church of Barrio La Unión (calles Natalia Vaca and Unión), Guachapala, Zaruma, Puruha, Mariscal Sucre, Subte. Michelena, Atahualpa Neighborhood Roundabout, Av. Teniente Hugo Ortiz, Cacha, Puruha, Av. Jacinto Collahuazo, Rodrigo de Chavez, Mariscal Sucre, Puruha, Cuachapala, Calle Natalia Vaca, back to "Virgen del Quinche" Church.

5:00 p.m.: Liturgy at San Francisco Church

5:30 p.m.: Liturgic Ceremony for the Passion of Christ. Universal Prayer. Adoration of the Holy Cross and Communion at the Municipal Cathedral.

6:00 p.m.: Santo Domingo Church: Sermon of the Seven Last Words. "Beginning of the Procession of Silence." Route: Santo Domingo Church, Rocafuerte, Leopoldo Salvador, Calle de los Milagros, Montufar, Sucre, Venezuela, Rocafuerte, Santo Domingo Church.



April 7, 2012

Times: 3 PM to 7 PM

Place: San Francisco


The Temple of San Francisco in Quito carries out a ceremony for the Solitude of Mary, Mother of Jesus - a lithurgy that lasts 3 hours and consists of prayers and songs dedicated to the Virgin who has lost her child. Once this ceremony ends, the Paschal Vigil begins, with blessing of fire, paschal candles and the blessing of the Holy Water. This is the night before Resurrection, it is the passage of Jesus from Death to Eternal Life.



April 8, 2012


6:00 p.m.: Solemn Pontifical Mass of the Lord's Resurrection, presided by the Archbishop of Quito at the Municipal Cathedral. Also known as the Easter of Flowers, in reference to spring in the Northern Hemisphere, when religious ceremonies go back to their usual schedules.

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