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Friday, December 27, 2013

The Spectacle that is "El Pase del Niño Viajero"

Warning!  Photo heavy blog!!! You may wonder about the quality of my photos on this one, but the crowds were so thick it was impossible to get a clear shot.  Sometimes it's hard to tell the participants from the audience.  If people look exhausted, we were on the final block of the parade route, so some of the little ones were tuckered right out.

El Pase del Niño Viajero (or "the passage of the travelling child") is an epic parade (at least in Cuenca), that takes place on December 24th.  Its planning takes months, or so we're told and the result can only be described similar to trying to herd cats, and I honestly mean that in a good way. In the end, it is the perfect reflection of Ecuadorian life.

Ecuadorian crowd control...use scarves...and dance while doing it!

One of multiple "Virgins", "Josephs" and "Magi"
Occasionally, they would throw in Santa for good measure.

Dig the dollar store dusters as helmet plumes!
 How so you might ask?  It seems to have few hard and fast rules, personal space is not considered and safety is blatantly disregarded.  In summation, it's totally refreshing, jubilant and unapologetically, well, Ecuadorian.  I'll let the pictures speak for themselves.

Facial hair sucks, Mom!

Groove to the music.

The shades make the outfit.

Who knew you played accordions in heaven?

Musicians or decide

This float actually had good visibility through its windshield

Indigenous costumes that are familiar around Cuenca's streets

Completely pooped...but still adorable

"Are we there yet?"
We actually have two folders of photos, as we went to the parade fairly early on in the day and spent a couple of hours then came home, ate lunch and went back to the festivities for another couple of hours.  When we left, the parade was still going strong.  (It started around 9:30 in the morning and we came home around 4:30, just to give you an idea of how extensive this endeavour actually is!)

Food laden floats

Living Nativity Scene

Okay, this is the FRONT of the car.

You can just make out the liquor bottles that adorned floats that also held small unaccompanied children

One of the many icons carried in the parade

More dancers
We were grateful when the shadow of the new cathedral started falling over us, as the sun was scorching, but it played havoc with my photos.  My camera is being very difficult and wants to flash in the daylight and flash at night, but not flash in dimly lit restaurants.  There must be something over the light sensor.  I can only imagine how hot and tired the people actually walking in the parade were come the end.  

These poor guys had fur covered chaps! Muy Calor!

The kids here are beautiful

This was 1 of 3 photos I took as the band was huge!

You've seen it before, but it's worthy of another look...nothing delays progess.

The parade isn't just to show off your cute kids...why not get dressed up, too?

One of the fancier floats, you can see more coming up behind

So hot!

Rudolph, Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus - on bikes...couldn't resist.

I couldn't get a picture of any of the floats that were throwing bags of candy to the crowds.  They were swarmed as soon as people realized what they were up to.  I'm not talking little bags of candy either, some were the size of soft balls and others were twice that size.  I guess the only down side is that not everyone (especially the kids) gets sweets.  It seemed to me that the taller you were the more likely you were to score a bag of goodies.

That was our first Pase del Nino Viajero, and we were light weights. I know a lot of people would have tried to see the whole thing, but between the sun, diesel fumes and basic hunger, we had to take a break in the middle.

We can't wait for the New Years festivity where the locals burn effigies of themselves (& others) to cast off the unwanted things from the prior year and start the new year fresh.  I'm sure the fire department here, can't wait.

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