The historical richness of its ethnicity, its natural charms and the articulated work between local authorities and the Ministry of Tourism, have made it possible for the canton to achieve this recognition.
Saraguro is one of the cantons of the province of Loja, it is characterized by the authenticity of its indigenous communities, its great traditions and its beautiful lands. The name Saraguro comes from Sara which means Corn and Guro which means Pot; giving way to be known as the place of corn or as: the land of corn. Its inhabitants are charismatic, humble and proud of their ancestors, they are also extremely believers and mythological because despite the passage of time, you can see that some myths and beliefs are still preserved among the indigenous and peasants of Saraguro, the same that are manifested through music, story and sayings that are still treasured in the memory of many people in these communities. They celebrate their cantonization every March 10th.
The history of the town of Saraguro is based on authentic indigenous roots, and was an important settlement that already existed when the Spaniards began the conquest. When the colony was established, it was renamed “El Pueblo del Apóstol San Pedro de Saraguro” and annexed to the Corregimiento de Loja.
The land of Saraguro is fertile and is cultivated on a large scale and the best thing about this crop is that it is done in a traditional way without tractors or technology techniques, the Saraguros prefer to do it with the help of cattle and a rudimentary plow. Its inhabitants have also made Saraguro a place where you can find one of the best marbles of Ecuador for its quality, which is close to the onyx gemstone desired by national and foreign trade.
This beautiful canton is populated by mestizos and indigenous people, who show their artisan skills at every step, in wool weaving and goldsmithing in precious metals and mullos; almost all the raw material of Saraguro is worked by hand, resulting in beautiful pieces that are very desirable in the international market.
The woman’s clothing wears a wide skirt that reaches below the knee, this garment is black and made of wool, with vertical pleats and in some cases has an opening on the side. The skirt is secured at the waist with a colorful sash, complements her attire a blouse, embroidered on the cuffs and breasts, this can be white, green, blue, pink, lilac or other colorful color. She also wears a cloth that covers her back from the shoulders, called reboso, secured with a silver pin called (tu po). Some Indians wear silver or mullo necklaces of different colors; they wear silver, aluminum or gold rings.
The man wears a kind of shirt without sleeves or collar, consisting of a poncho folded over the shoulders and tied at the waist by a brightly colored wool garment (sash), which allows him to display his muscular build, the result of agriculture, livestock or other activity that requires strength. A short garment that reaches the knees, is made up of two parts, a white one that covers the inner part of the legs, and a black one that complements the sleeve and reaches the waist, on the outside, covering the thighs and buttocks are the pants that are secured at the waist by a thick leather belt, adorned with buttons or rivets of avocado or other metal; this according to their economic situation.
One of the characteristics of the indigenous is to use long hair in the case of men, this, according to themselves is a cultural manifestation, synonymous with strength, wisdom and a whole set of beliefs of the culture and the indigenous worldview.
Both men and women wear hats; this is white with black, with a wide brim and round top, thick and solid. This is made of wool, through a process that gives them these characteristics. This garment is used to protect them from the sun, as a vessel to put shelled corn or also to drink water and in some cases even to attack in fights or quarrels. Nowadays, few people walk barefoot.
When speaking of the musical folklore, dances and indigenous songs, it is necessary to state that their music and dance, like the mystery of their permanent mourning, still remain unexplored.
There are folkloric groups conformed by authentic natives, who are making possible the marvelous plot of the Indian artist, who reproduces in each of his interpretations the mirages of a great prehistoric civilization.
It deserves special mention the Folkloric Group “Saraguro” that has visited several countries making known their dances like: “EI Sarawi”, “El velorio del guagua”, “La Danza de las Ofrendas”, “El matrimonio”, “Los Danzantes”, “Las Mojigangas”, “La Minga”, etc.
Their typical instruments are the reed flute, the pingullo, the rondador, the quipa and the bass drum, although they interpret with unequaled mastery the indigenous vial and the concertina, as well as the guitar.
Handicrafts are another important source of income in the Saraguro economy, especially textile work, basketry, ceramics and saddlery, whose production is intended for self-consumption and the local market.