The Yamor festival is a historical and cultural celebration of chicha of pre-Incan origin and the religious faith of the village. The festival is an act of the village to unite in their diversity, like all the grains of corn that are merged into an ear of corn.
The festival was born in the Monserrat village in approximately 1953, where traditionally they celebrate with thanks to the virgin Mary of Monserrat, patron of Otavalo and Pacha Mama for the harvest of corn and the exhilirating work of the Otavaleñan region.
It is said that in this celebration there are offerings of typical dishes and beverages, which is the chicha of “Yamor”. With the passage of the years it has become an institution officially named as a festival in 1953.
Yamor, historically and culturally has been chicha, a beverage made of seven varieties of corn, the same that was designated for the head chiefs to accompany banquets. The word Yamor comes from two terms, Yak, a synonym for wisdom and Mur, grain, referring to Yamor as the maize drink of wisdom.
This festival is held year after year, at the end of August until the first week of September, where distinct acts and events are held in the city of Otavalo and the bordering communities.
A series of ceremonies are supported during the celebration of the Yamor festival that are the base of the celebration year after year by the Festival Committee:
The Festival Parade
This consists of allegorical cars, dances, bands and music in which various delegations of the local, national and international levels participate in culture and tradition.
The Queen Election
This galant event chooses the most beautiful Otavaleñan woman.
Open Swimming Competition in San Pablo lake
This important event is held every year organized by the Cantonal Sport League. It is initiated by various preparations months before the competition. The competition is held in the morning testing the calm waters of San Pablo lake. The distance the participants traverse is 3.8 km in sectors of Araque (departure) and Muelle Costa Azul (finish line). The course takes approximately 1 hour. There are hundreds of participants from various provinces of the country like Pichincha, Manabí, Tungurahua, Azuay and Imbabura. They participate in different categories taking the opportunity to compete with men and women of different ages.
The most prominent music festival is carried out in honor of the Marys, with the participation of national and international artists.
The Harvest Blessing
In the Yamor festival the people of the city and the communitites unite to give thanks to Pacha Mama for the harvest and they have a religious festival dedicated to the Virgin Mary of Monserrat, whose saint day coincides with the indigenous festival. This celebration is made with the participation of the parishioners of the Virgin in a procession from the San Luis Sanctuary until the cross of Socavón. At this site there is a mass for the blessing of the harvest.
Many different cultural manifistations and representative acts of Otavalo and the country stand out during this time.