Today’s ‘Passing of the Child’ parade mixes the sacred and the profane and highlights Cuenca’s Christmas season

Dec 24, 2009

Combining Christian and pagan ritual, the sacred and the profane, and the bizarre and traditional, today’s Pase del Nino parade –the Passing of the Child–  is one Cuenca’s most colorful annual traditions.

Although the parade is held in many Latin American cities, organizers claim that Cuenca’s is the largest. As many as 35,000 will participate in the event, with another 400,000 to 500,000 watching from the sidewalks, parks and balconies. The action begins in the morning on Av. Las Americas and proceeds through the historic district, with Parque Calderon being the prime vantage point. The parade typically runs for seven or eight hours.

The theme of the parade is the p
resentation of the Christ child –and there will be literally thousands of versions of the holy infant. There will also be a multitude of representations of Christ’s supporting cast as well as other Biblical characters.

Besides the holy family, the parade will have clowns, dancing cholas. cooked pigs and chickens, men on stilts and some of the strangest parade floats ever conceived. Entries come from all over Ecuador plus a few from Peru and Colombia.