We decided to report on this holiday in 2 parts...this is Part 1, the 'getting ready' activities. Part 2 will be the actual day.
During an early morning walk to town, we followed the music to the San Francisco Market to see the band and watch the people. Vendors were setting up their booths.
Workers were busy hanging these posters...Viva Cuenca!
Some of the surrounding shops had just opened. This woman had just set up her goods for sale. She had her first customer within seconds.
At the nearby flower market, more music. You can (sort of) see all the purple decorations in the background for sale for All Soul's Day. (Purple is the color for honoring the ancestors.)
Around the Square, lots of people and more loud music! Live bands all competing for the airspace, all at the same time. Some were good, some not so much, but we loved all their excitement and joy!
All this preparation activity didn't stop ANY party, starting several days in advance of the Big Day. Our neighborhood was loud with music and speakers for several nights. We kept hearing...Viva Cuenca!!...with loud rockets and fireworks. And, lots more loud music. Every few songs, the crowd and band gave a rousing rendition of our favorite tune, Chola Cuencana! Cuencanos sure know how to party right!!
We couldn't tell from where the night parties were coming from...maybe the neighborhood near Feria Libre?? (That's the huge people's market about 3 blocks from our apt). We were thinking if indeed that area was Party Central, folks had to have had ear plugs just to save their hearing. We almost needed them here. Wow, it was loud! But, it was spirited, joyful and full of City pride...we even felt pride in our City each time the speaker would yell...VIVA CUENCA!! (And, the crowd, including us, cheered!)
One speaker sounded like this... VEEEE VAHHH KOO WAAAAN KAHHHH! He really drew it out and the crowd loved it. We did, too!
Lights for the stage.
More families. More music. Lots more excitement! Little children couldn't contain themselves, they were dancing and singing (and eating ice cream) all over the Park. Such a joy to see little kids being kids! Imagine the energy of little kids on Christmas Eve...we just had to smile!
Workers trimming the trees.
Teens were having a good time, too. Some were also eating ice cream, chatting with their friends and siblings, walking around to find more friends. Some walked arm-in-arm with their parents. Families are strong here.
Moms rule! One story that will please some of our readers: One of our workers brought her beautiful teenage daughters with her to work one day. She told us she wanted to keep an eye on them, as they worked along side her. Mom said: Too many 'distractions of boys' on a holiday. Yes, this Mom is strict, but so protective of her girls. And, the girls seemed happy to be helping and just being with their Mom today. So sweet! Absolutely NO attitude either.
That's San Blas Church at the end of the street above.
The red/yellow flags represent the Azuay state, or province. The solid red flags represent Cuenca (capitol of Azuay). Ecuador's flag is the tri-colors...blue, red and yellow, with a seal.
Wherever there are people, there are food vendors.
These are candied fruit for sale.
Back to the front of the Cathedral to check on the activity...sound equipment almost ready to go.