The festival originates in pagan festivals to pagan gods, but was renamed Carneval in the time of the Spanish Conquistadores, meaning "No more meat". It was a time to enjoy all excesses before the lent fast. Today Carneval is a time for families to have fun. Tomorrow the Catholics will celebrate Ash Wednesday then life will continue as usual.
In other parts of Ecuador there are brightly coloured parades with traditional dancing, flowers and fruit displays. Many people head to the beaches to play in the sea. Families gather buckets and hose pipes and stand outside their houses spraying the passing cars with water. Water balloons may catch you unawares.
Ecuadoreans are amazed when I tell them we do not celebrate Carneval in Britain, until they think a little and imagine everything covered in snow. Water fights in the cold would not work so well. In the interests of cultural exchange I am contemplating cooking the extended family some pancakes for tea. (They are at present all getting wet in the river.) I wonder what they will make of crepes a la lemon and sugar. I fear it may seem a little tame in the face of the local exuberance.