In addition to its nature historical structures, Ecuador is a popular tourist attraction with its cultural diversity and ethnic groups. There are three main regions in the country; the coastal region (La Costa), the Andean region (La Sierra) and the Amazon region (La Amazonia). There are different ethnic groups living in these regions and each ethnic group has its own cultures and values.
In the coastal region; the Awa, Tsatchila, Chachis, Huancavilca, Afro-Ecuadorian, Manta and Epera.
In the Andean region; the Quechuas and Afro-Ecuadorians
In the Amazon region; the Cofan, Secoya, Siona, Huaoroni, Amazon Quichuas, Zaparo, Achuar, and Shuar.
The traditions of ethnic groups in the Amazon region are generally explained on signboards in the museum where axis of equator is situated.
The Amazon region is famous for its rainforests and dangerous rivers. The python snakes, poisonous spiders and the Candiru (also known as penis fish) pose the greatest threats for people.
The Candirus are told to love the smell of ammoniac, so the local people say that the candirus attack men in the river, enter into their body through penis, and start to eat visceral organs. The locals say that candirus do not attack women.
The reason they attack to men is that it is easier to enter into the body via penis. For this reason, men wear a string to tie up their penis upwards around the waist before swimming in the Amazon River.
Besides, the size of ear holes shows the power of men in the same tribe. This is why, the men of this tribe pin various earrings to make their ear holes bigger, because the men with big ear holes are more likely to be elected as the chief of tribe.
The most interesting weapon this tribe uses is blowpipe which a bamboo-like hollow reed. They put arrow-like plants in blowpipes and hunt or fight with each other by blowing. They can blow up to 45 meters.
This tribe favors the polygamy, so each men in the tribe has about 4-5 wives. They sleep on hammocks weaved from plants. They live in the northern part of the Amazon region of Ecuador.
Of course, this is not the only interesting tribe in this region. Another tribe mostly populated in the southern part of the Amazon region is famous for mercilessness for their enemies. The method they use for animals today was used on humans until recent times.
They behead their enemies in the first contact.
Then they remove the skulls of their enemies.
They boil the head (without skull) in a clay vessel and stitch the lips via thin leaves.
This process was applied by this tribe in order to prevent the soul go away. After the stitching process, they clean the head totally and stuff it with large stones through neck.
Then they sun-dry the head, empty the stones and wear the head like a necklace. Today, it is not done for humans but sloths.
This process is done to protect the soul of deceased or during the Shaman rites for the enemies.
They put the deceased in the fetus position into a clay vessel and bury the deceased along with his belongings so he might need them in the afterlife.
The wife of the deceased is also buried together with the deceased, because the tribe considers that his wife is the best person to help him in the afterlife. The wife is poisoned with San Pedro cactus (found in San Pedro region) before getting buried. The one who eats this plant does not feel any pain. The wife drinking or eating this plant becomes completely motionless and senseless.
All of the graves are built in the form of uterus so as to help deceased people adapt more easily to the afterlife.
To sum up, if you ever visit the Amazon region of Ecuador, you better try not to swim in rivers and to make enemies.
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