Surrounded by volcanoes, Otavalo sits at about 8,000 ft. and is home to one of South America s most famous indigenous markets. Most of its 40,000 residents are Quechua Indians whose language, customs and culture are one of the most colorful and resilient in Latin America.
Quechua New Year's Day parade, Otavalo, Ecuador.
A major aspect of their identity is dress. For men, this consists of a blue poncho, fedora hat, white calf-length knickers, and a shimba (a long braid that hangs down nearly to the waist). The women are dressed in distinctive, white embroidered blouses, with flared lace sleeves and black or dark skirts. Gold necklaces, coral bracelets and colorful hair/waist bands accent their attire.
Plaza Bolivar, Otavalo
In Otavalo, there is a deep tradition of weaving, dating back to pre-Inca times. Over the years, the region has earned international recognition for the craftsmanship of their textiles. The people have survived colonialism, racism and oppression throughout their history, but today the biggest threats to the survival of their culture are the internet, social media, and tourism.
Quechua couple, she with her fachalina (headcloth) and he with his fedora hat and Shimba (long braid).
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