Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Christmas in Cuenca

Feliz Navidad y Próspero Año Nuevo

Image result for christmas tree
Christmas is a big holiday in Ecuador, there are lots of celebrations going on. Christmas Eve seems to to be the main event with a parade called the Paseo del Niño. The parade has been tradition in Cuenca for many years. It was a way for Cuancanos to meld their Incan traditions with the newer Catholic traditions brought by the Spanish. 

The procession is a day long event, lasting 8 hours or more. Hundreds of families create floats or simply decorate themselves and walk in the parade. People save up all year to buy the supplies to decorate their float. Families will decorate horses, cars, carts, and trucks with all manner of things. We saw floats covered in candies, foods, alcohol, roast pig, cuy, and chickens. Many people were dressed in traditional clothing, while others wore nativity or Santa outfits. There were lots of bands and music playing with several groups of people dancing. 

The streets were packed all along the parade route and we had a party to go to in the evening so we only stayed and watched the procession for about 2 hours. If you are going, as with any crowded event anywhere around the world, be careful with your wallet and phone. Pickpockets are around for these events, we know 2 people who had their wallet/phones stolen from them on Christmas Eve no less. Dustin has zipped pockets inside his pants and we only took a few bucks with so we came out unscathed. 

We really enjoyed sharing in Cuenca's Christmas traditions. We missed all our family and friends back in the United States. We have a great group of friends here in Cuenca and had lots of invites to Christmas parties so we were by no means alone this Christmas. Thank you to our Cuenca family for making this Christmas special. 

Busy parade route

Little float with lots of foods attached, I like the little mustache on the kid

I call this one "roast pig with sleeping girl" lol there were also live chickens and rabbits in the crate underneath

A toy truck covered in candy

This little boy got his parents to push him on his toy car with boom box attached to the back

One of the many nativity scenes

The day after Christmas we saw this truck at the mercado, there are also lots of little neighborhood parades in addition to the big Pase Del Nino in Centro

Video of some of the fun!

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