Saturday, December 26, 2009

Christmas in Cuenca... all about the ninos!

We attended several events that really got us in the holiday spirit.

A Christmas dance show, full of lively Christmas music and dancing, sure got us going in the holiday direction.  Lots of children in the production, as well in the audience.  We were especially taken with some tiny little girls tapdancing their little hearts out!  They wore gold (too big!) Santa hats ...  adorable!

Cuenca's Symphony performed at a local neighborhood church (for free).  Lots of Christmas music, both familiar Christmas music and not-so-familiar...both in English and Spanish.  Children (we think perhaps the kids were from the local parish) began the concert singing carols...  their sweet voices brought a tear to the eye.  Some of the voices were so much bigger than they were!  A joyful noise!

We had heard all about the parade-of-parades on Christmas Eve...The parade of children is even better and bigger than we had heard!!  Just about every child in Cuenca dresses up in costume, everything from clowns,  lots of angels and Biblical costumes, as well traditional and historic dress...Children from all over Ecuador and neighboring countries come to march in the parade, too.  The parade officially began at 10am, but the staging areas got busy way before that, and the parade itself goes on and on for several hours so the children can all participate.   We hear that the crowds numbered close to 80-100,000...  looked about right to us!

Besides the ninos and their parents, we saw decorated horses, sheep and cows...and colorfully decorated 'floats' on the back of huge flatbed trucks.  (Many of the trucks were provided by the military; everyone got into the holiday spirit!)

Lots of music!  Military bands, carolers, traditional Andes' flutes and more.
You can tell it was HOT weather by all the umbrellas and hats...sun gets really intense here at the equator.

We took close to 300 pictures, but here are a few to share:

Lots of children carried 'dolls' representing the Baby Jesus.  Some of the 'dolls' have been in the families for generations.

If you look closely, you'll see
the backs of these elaborate, detailed well as a wagon full of 'Ecuadorian bounty'...including a roast pig.

3 wise men in blackface.

This doggie was decorated, too...can you see he's carrying his chicken toy in his backpack?

Another babe-in-arms.  And, roasted cuy (guinea pig).

We had a delightful time this Season!  We hope all of you did, too.
Wishing Everyone a Very Happy 2010!

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