Food Customs at Ceremonial Occasions. Special and holiday foods are an improved version of the typical meal but feature more meat and perhaps more of an emphasis on cream and fried plantains. Christmas food includes torrejas , a white bread soaked in hot syrup, and nacatamales, which are like the Mexican tamales, but are larger and moister with a more gelatinous dough and are wrapped in banana leaves.
Two key symbols represent both cultural– biological centralization and homogenization and diversification, human integrity, and dignity. The first is that of mestizaje , which is promulgated by the elite, who descend from Europeans. It refers to a body of blended Ecuadorians who occupy the middle to lower classes. It is confronted constantly by the second symbol of nacionalidad ("nationality") which refers to being culturally distinct in an oppressive nationalist state. The most prominent nationality in Ecuador is that of the Quichua– speaking people. In the 1970s their slogan was a common greeting in the Inca Empire: ama shua, ama llulla, ama quilla ("don't steal, don't lie, don't be lazy"). The indigenous–based social–political movement pachakutik ("return to the land"), formed in 1996, chose as its flag a rainbow spectrum, representing the anaconda, which emerges from the Amazonian lowlands to unite people from the Andes and Amazonia. This rainbow flag was combined with the golden sun and Inca greeting to build a master set of symbols of a diverse yet unified body. These symbols are now nationally recognized, defining an indigenous space of dynamic nationalities within the republic.