This being my first Christmas in Cuenca, I was looking forward to the Christmas Parade. One of the Ecuadorians told me it is the largest parade in Ecuador, and the largest in Cuenca during the year. I have no idea how accurate the statement about this parade being the largest in Ecuador is. However, I was told by more than one source that the floats and trucks begin to line up as early as 3:00 a.m. along Aviendas de Americas near Feria Libre, the largest open market in Cuenca. The parade known as "Pase del Nino Viajero" (In honor and worship of the baby, Jesus) was suppose to begin around 9:00 or 10:00 a.m. It was my understanding that the parade began more around 11:00 a.m. The Parade meanders through the city and runs for miles. There are more participants in the parade than people actually watching it, although the crowds get thick in EL Centro. It is as if every child in Cuenca is a participant.
I did not make my way out to see the parade until almost 2:00 p.m. Living on the west side where the parade was to begin I assumed by now I would have to make my way toward El Centro to catch the end of the parade. Silly me, I walk half a mile down to Avenidas America and discover blocks of floats and participants still waiting for their movement forward in the parade.
Wow, I was impressed. There was such a lively sense of comraderie and excitement. The people both in the parade, and many walking along the sidewalks where dressed in traditional garb, which added to the gala festivities. There were no larger-than-life Macy Thanksgiving Day inflatables, no floats decorated in thousands of roses as would be found in Pasadena. However, the parade was every bit as colorful and fun as I could hope for, and I am by no means a parade person.
Unfortunately, I had my typical camera/computer problems. This problem was strictly of my own making, I had failed to remove all the old photos from my camera, and ran out of photo space very early into the parade. So I will show you what I have at the following link. I did not in any way get the most beautiful floats. You will notice fruit, and bags of candy, etc also used as decorations on the side of some of the floats. It is my understanding when the parade was finally over, which was around 4:00 or 5:00 p.m., the food from the floats was given to the poor.
It was a beautiful day, and the rain held off until after the parade was over. Many of the umbrellas you see were to offer protection from the sun. It made a long day for the little ones, but they seem to handle it well. I saw one float as ice cream cones were distributed to each of the children, which was much appreciated by the kids. These Ecuadorian kids are just incredibly adorable, and thank God this wasn't the U.S.A. Gringo mothers would have been screaming child-abuse to high heaven for having the kids participate in a parade that ran for hours. There is no commentary (I just provided my share of that) just a slide presentation.
Since the vast majority on my blog readers in the states do not read some of the other blogs, I am also going to link you to Connie and Mark Pombo's post on the parade. They have all the beautiful photos I did not have a chance to get:
There were also children riding camels, and I understand there was even a roasted pig riding the back of a horse. I'll bet you didn't see that in Macy's parade.