ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

The Perseverance of Inca Traditions in Saraguro, Ecuador

Updated on March 8, 2018
Maria Rosa Cango on the right at the entrance of her small workshop.
Maria Rosa Cango on the right at the entrance of her small workshop.

Inca and Saraguro history at a glance

In acordance to oral customs and cultural inheritance, the Saraguro people were relocated from other areas, like Colla, Lake Titicaca and Cuzco, to the now southern region of Ecuador, after being conquered by the Inca empire in the 1460s. This diversification process of moving people around, used by the Incas, had the purpose of scattering any possible resistance or opposition to their dominion; this population control policy was called mitma.

Since then, Saraguros have maintaned control over their territories during the ocupation of the region by the Spanish Empire and the subsequent Republic of Ecuador. Nowadays, they still celebrate their Inca heritage with the now traditional black clothing, a symbol of their mourning of the death of the Inca Emperor Atahualpa and, as a result, the end of the Inca empire. Likewise, other Inca traditions and customs are still being preserved.

"And we, your children now, an idyll of love and hopes we sing, with firm strength, in augury of immortal bliss. "

Lyrics to the Saraguro Anthem

Vibrant and varied colors are a characteristic of Saraguro hand made crafsmanship

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Saraguro craftsmanship

Journeying in these south regions of Ecuador, you can find Maria Rosa Cango's workshop of traditional handcrafted artifacts. This almost hidden atelier is located in a narrow alley that leads to a small square located in the middle of Saraguro town. Here, this talented Saraguro artisan weaves warm clothing made with sheep's wool for the cold climate. In addition, she also creates elaborated necklaces made of colored glass beads to sell to visting customers.

The Saraguro women use these traditional necklaces regularly and in special occasions; this artisanship is mostly applied by the women, eventhough some men are also talented artisans. Maria Rosa reveals that one of her more diligent work was a necklace representing the shape and colors of the peacock, an animal known for its elegance and varied and vivid colors.

Historically, the necklaces made in the seventies were created with a constant basic pattern, and would vary depending on the number of columns and color combinations. After the 1980s, new patterns and styles were created. At present, the Saraguro people create bracelets and collars with a style known as lagarto (lizard), that can be used by both genders.

Saraguro ponchos made with sheep wool are a great choice for the region's cold weather.
Saraguro ponchos made with sheep wool are a great choice for the region's cold weather.


Nevertheless, the hats and ponchos made with sheep wool are considered the more traditional and representative aspect of their culture, according to Cango. This community in constant mouring, would customarily wear very heavy black and white hats made from sheep wool with a wide brim. Even though other styles of headwear have replaced these, the traditional heavy hat is still being used during special ocassions and can still be seen in the region.

Ever since she was a child, Maria Rosa has been taught how to spin and weave to sell their craft. Today, she invites tourists around the world interested in her culture to visit this land that represents a continuation of incan culture and tradition found in southern Ecuador.

A map and location of Saraguro

Would you visit this small town of Saraguro during your travel to South America?

See results

This website uses cookies

As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

Show Details
HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)