The San Francisco temple, in the historic center of the Ecuadorian capital, hosted this Sunday thousands of Catholic parishioners who, with flower arrangements and palm ornaments, ratified their faith in a ceremony by Domingo de Ramos that was the starting signal for Holy Week Quito.
From very early in the morning hundreds of faithfuls gathered at the foot in the emblematic Basilica del Voto Nacional, one of the most imposing neo-Gothic temples in America, for one of the procession that serves as a prelude to the ceremony of the Drag of Caudas on Wednesday and the procession of Jesus of the Great Power on Friday.
There, hundreds of devotees with palm branches, rosemary, laurel and other native plants gave them to the Franciscan parish priests for their blessing, while volunteers of the order Jesus of Great Power gave away bouquets from a van.
The procession advanced from Plaza García Moreno, where the neo-Gothic temple is located, to the Plaza de San Francisco, in a route of less than a mile and a half through the streets of the old town of Quito, and which passed in front of the presidential palace of Carondelet.
In the midst of strong security measures, and many onlookers and devotees on the balconies, the participants advanced among songs, prayers and praises and evoked the victorious entrance of Jesus on the back of a donkey in Jerusalem while the crowds cheered him with claps, according to the Gospel.
In the itinerary through Quito, the aroma of rosemary and palo santo flooded the narrow streets of the old town, which as the procession progressed, filled with more and more people.
While marching in procession with a bouquet of rosemary, Dioselina, 63, told Efe that she attends this celebration every year from the city of Machachi, a dozen kilometers south of the capital.
"I always come to this procession to ask Jesus for my health and that of my whole family," he said.
Around two thousand people who went in procession joined other devotees who were already in the Plaza San Francisco, in which the Franciscan friars offered a field mass.
"This is an opportunity to meditate on our life and know that just as Jesus entered Jerusalem, he can also enter our homes and families and reign our country and society to be builders of peace and unity," Franciscan Father Freddy told Efe.
The religious said that the field Mass has been held for more than two decades and said that, year after year, a greater number of people participate in both ceremonies.
For Luz Arteaga, in her sixties, the participation in the acts of Holy Week is an obligation of the calendar, because "it is the most sacred thing that the whole Catholic community has".
And he said that among the traditions of the place is to take the "blessed bouquet" to his house to put it on an altar in front of Jesus, as a test of faith.
Test of faith and also some superstition because, once blessed, he takes it home to be burned next to a candle in front of the circumstantiality of some misfortune.
Mariana Villalba, selling imagery and religious objects next to the church of San Francisco, explained in that sense that the bouquets are left to dry and serve "to drive away bad energies (at home) and to cure children of fright".
With 40 years behind her in this business, Holy Week is for her, and so many vendors of the old town, one of the best moments at commercial level.
Although Palm Sunday is in theory a day of rejoicing, many of the believers, especially the older ones, already went black today to the ceremonies.
A black man who will be even more visible on Wednesday at the Cauda Drag Ceremony, a unique funeral ritual in the world that pays homage to the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross.
It is one of the most traditional liturgical events of the Ecuadorian Holy Week, which takes place in the Metropolitan Cathedral of Quito, the last place in the world where it still takes place.