There are many odd things about being an expat at Christmas in Cuenca, Ecuador. Immigrants from North America to Cuenca make up, at most, a few percent of the total population of the city. But we have an outsized effect on the local culture, as is apparent from the increasing number of turkeys and hams available for sale during this holiday season.
The expat community in Cuenca is a strong one. Many of us enjoy getting together at restaurants or friend’s homes to celebrate this festive season (usually with copious amounts of food and drink). Lee and I stayed close to home this Christmas as we were celebrating the anniversary of my triple bypass and appreciating being around for another year. We did manage to make it to one of our favorite places, The Windhorse Cafe, for a little Christmas Eve turkey (delicious, as always).
One of the coolest things about Christmas in Cuenca is the annual parade held on Christmas Eve day, called the Pase del Niño Viajero (the Passage of the traveling child). This six-hour long parade incorporates almost half of this city of 500,000. Over 70,000 march in the parade (not counting horses and dogs) and well over three-times that number eagerly line the parade’s route to cheer on their favorite costumes, bands, and floats.
The weather can be anything from scorching hot sunlight to rain (usually light, but with occasional afternoon downpours). Whatever nature throws at the city, Cuencanos always manage to have a blast,as you can tell from the video below.
Thousands upon thousands of pictures are taken of the parade every year. Here’s a link to some terrific photos by Esteban Leví Bravo Argudo. And here’s a few of my favorite faces in the parade from this year (photos by Lee).
I hope you enjoyed those. Feel free to post links (URLs) to your Cuenca Christmas photos for all to enjoy.
Until next time – Paul