The fun just keeps on a-comin’!
Last Tuesday, Cuenca celebrated Pase del Niño Viajero, one in a series of Pases celebrating the birth of Jesus that will continue until Carnival.
The first of the festivals began on the first Sunday of Advent. The second was the big Pase del Niño parade on Christmas Eve followed by the New Year’s Eve burning of the monigotes, then the Pase del Niño Rey on the fifth of January, celebrating the Dia de los Reyes Magos, or the Three Kings.
Second only to Pase del Niño in size is the Día de los Inocentes parade on January 6. This one has largely abandoned its religious roots to become a large-scale satire and comedy show. Among other acts, it will feature a troupe of gringos — the “Gringitos Locos” — organized by Fishbon Sur.
The costumes that the characters wear in the Christmas events are exclusive designs by Gustavo Moscoso, Alexandra Donoso, and Design students from the University of Azuay: Ignacio Benavides, Silvia Galarza, David Rodas, María Belén Astudillo and Gabriela Villareal.
In addition to the Pase del Niño celebrations, Ecuadorians create,or purchase effigies or dolls stuffed with hay and fireworks. These figures are representations of the old year, including disliked people, national or local officials, famous people or folkloric characters and will be ignited on New Year’s Eve.
María Angélica León director of the Tourism Foundation for Cuenca said, “The intention of hosting Christmas parades is to encourage a reawakening of the ancestral traditions of the Cuenca people and its surroundings, promoting peace, union and establishing a new cultural tourism activity in the city,” and it seems to be working. For Pase del Niño Viajero, 130,000 celebrants and guests joined in.