Monday, December 24, 2012

Pase del Niño Viajero

Written by Karen.
The big Cuenca Christmas Eve parade was today and it didn't disappoint. The weather was cloudy and cool - perfect parade watching weather - and the mood was festive.  The City erected a serious sound system in the downtown main square and for the next 8 hours played familiar and unfamiliar Christmas carols and music.  

The Pase del Niño Viajero parade and celebration in Cuenca is said to be the biggest in Ecuador, with Ecuadorans coming from all over to participate and to watch.  As we understand it, the purpose of the parade is to highlight Mary and Joseph's travels and to honor the baby Christ child.  

There is something simple, yet profound, about seeing an entire parade around one central tenet. I was struck by the idea throughout the day that thousands and thousands of people from a variety of towns and economic backgrounds had gathered here today to share and celebrate a day - a faith - together.  

We watched the first four hours or so of the parade and then took a break and came back for the final hour.  At first came the big floats on military trucks, the riders on horseback, the dancers, the musicians, and at the end of the parade came the floats that were family affairs - decorated family cars and trucks with their offerings. Some floats and costumes were very simple and some were incredibly elaborate.  It was a sincere event - haphazard and non-commercial - and it was cool to be a part of it. 

Below are some of the faces of the Pase del Niño Viajero parade and celebration.  Feliz Navidad!  

Besides the elaborate costume, the horse is loaded with candy, drinks, alcohol, presents, stuffed animals, and a roasted pig.

In between the floats or groups, families would also come dressed up either in a biblical character or in traditional dress, or sometimes as expressed by this family, a combination of both.

Snack and food vendors wove in and out of the parade offering something to eat or drink throughout the day.  This vendor is offering crema with red and green ice cream cones. 

Even baby carriages were decorated.  This one has balloons, gold and silver tinsel, stuffed animals, strands of apples and tangerines, and strings of cookies.
This little guy is sitting on top of a horse with a huge heart of bread, vegetables, cooked cuy (guinea pig), blankets, and fruits. 

Cuy is in the back looking particularly ferocious with peppers inserted in their mouths. 

This little guy was sitting on top of one of the family car floats.

One of the family car "floats".  Literally, two seconds after I took this picture, both the girl in pink and the boy next to her fell off the car.  They jumped back up, chased their family car and hopped back on.

No comments: