Ecuador's independence day celebrated with flag raising outside Reading City Hall

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Aug. 12—The sidewalk outside City Hall was filled with color, music and dancing as about 100 people gathered to celebrate Ecuador's Independence Day with a flag raising.

"It gives me great honor and privilege to be able to raise the flag for the second annual year here in front of City Hall," Mayor Eddie Moran said Wednesday, speaking in Spanish and translating into English.

Moran said his wife, Ruth, is half Ecuadorian, making the day personally significant for his family.

Ecuador's declaration of independence from Spain, signed Aug. 10, 1809, was the first such move in South America, the mayor said, and prompted other colonies to follow suit.

Though its declaration was made in 1809, it took another 20 years for Ecuador to become a fully independent republic, Moran said.

The Ecuadorian War for Independence ended with the defeat of the Spanish forces at the Battle of Pichincha on May 24, 1822.

Moran read a proclamation commemorating the 213th anniversary of Ecuador's claim of independence.

Reading residents of Ecuadorian descent crowded the sidewalk dressed in T-shirts with the striped yellow, blue and red colors of the country's flag.

A group dressed in traditional costumes performed a ceremonial dance, led by a man portraying the diablo huma.

The diablo huma, which means devil's head, is drawn from the indigenous legends of Ecuador. The character is traditionally believed to drive away the evil spirits that are thought to harm harvests.

His outfit consisted of a colored mask and two faces, representing the duality of the cosmos: good and evil, sun and moon, day and night, and future and present, according to kunakkunaexperienc.wixsite.com.