Friday, January 8, 2010

Dia de los Reyes

After all the tourists have left town after observing the "Pase de Niño Viajero," Cuencans have a grand, home-grown celebration on Jan 6, the "Dia de los Reyes," also called the "Dia de los Inocentes." (In Spain and most of Latin America, the Day of the Innocents, commemorating the masacre of children in Bethlehem, ordered in an attempt to get rid of Jesus before he could grow up to be a trouble maker for the Roman empire, is celebrated on Dec 28. For some reason, it is celebrated on the 6th here.) Avenida Solano, one of the main streets outside of the center of town, a north-south arterial with two lanes plus parking in each direction, and a large grassy median, is closed, and a large parade is held on it. Anyone can participate, and it is not religious in nature (unless you count the group dressed like pregnant nuns). Most of the floats/groups are costumed, men and boys frequently dress as women, and most groups poke fun at local events, sometimes political, but not always. While the Pase de Niño Viajero draws its participants and viewers from the surrounding rural areas, this is strictly an urban event. (For more photos from the event, click here.) It is crowded! The paper announced that it would start around 4:00, we arrived at about 5:30, and it actually started around 7:00. When we left around 9:00 (there was school for the girls the next day), people were still streaming in. It probably went on until around 2:00 am. We know that it was very quiet the next morning!

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