Sunday, January 20, 2013


Cuenca is the third largest city in Ecuador but you wouldn't guess it with it's small town feel and cobblestone streets.

We spent New Years Eve in Cuenca and the city was in full swing - a time for families and friends to get together and share a nice meal, a few drinks, and...burn life size dummies in the streets?! We found it a bit odd when we started seeing stores selling these large paper mâché looking dummies a few days before New Years. Most were painted to look like any average person but there were others made up to look like superheros, cartoon characters, and movie stars. We saw an unusually large amount made to look like Chucky and The Incredible Hulk. The tradition is to burn these dummies in the streets just before midnight to cleanse the previous years sins. Apparently it is also important to jump over the dummy while it is burning for a little extra credit.

The women selling flowers had a hard time keeping up with their customers, the bakeries were packed, and there was no shortage of parades around the central plaza.

Unlike parades in the States that feature firemen, politicians, and beauty queens, the primary focus in Cuenca was young children dressed as jesus, an angel, or santa. Most didn't look like they had much choice in the matter but there were a couple kids that were happy to be part of the festivities.

Our time in Cuenca was thoroughly enjoyed but we were anxious to check out the little hippie town of Vilcabamba.

1 comment:

  1. Next January let's make life size paper mache dummies ; I'm serious. It sounds like fun. We'll dress them using the four outfits that you and Zach have been wearing since October. We'll laugh and laugh and laugh.

    If we decide to burn them though we'll have to take the clothes off first because it would be seriously bad Karma to do otherwise but we could burn the clothes separately!!!! Or bring them to Goodwill!! :) MOM