Posted by: pennyinparadise | January 18, 2009

Holidays 2008 in Cuenca

As with all Americans, my holiday season begins with Thanksgiving, moves on to Christmas and New Years.   I tack one more major holiday onto these, to include my birthday in January.  So below is my report of my first holiday season in Cuenca….hope you enjoy.   Be sure to Comment…..I love hearing from you.

Thanksgiving is a uniquely American tradition, and in both Panama and Ecuador, the ExPat community welcomes this opportunity to share a meal together and be with friends.   This year I was included in a big Pot Luck Thanksgiving dinner, complete with turkey, stuffing and all the trimmings.   Here are a few friends and I at this event, held in a fruit orchard in a town called Paute, about 45 minutes outside of Cuenca.

L to R...Bill, Patricia, Christa (one of my favorite new friends), me and in back David and Alan

L to R...Bill, Patricia, Christa (one of my favorite new friends), me and in back David and Alan

Me, Chela (a fabulous Ecuadorian friend) and Bill Bushnell (we call him Bush)

Me, Chela (a fabulous Ecuadorian friend) and Bill Bushnell (we call him Bush)

WOW…..what an outstanding holiday Christmas is here in the Andes…..Cuenca celebrates Christmas in a big way.  The Christmas Eve Children’s Parade is televised throughout the entire country and I got to see it in person!!   Since a picture is worth a thousand words, here are a few thousand words in picture form.

Children are dressed in costume….angels, gauchos, wise men, spanish grandees, bullfighters, etc.

Tiny Chica

Tiny Chica

Tiniest Nino

Tiniest Nino

nino2

Some of these have been in the family for generations

Some of these have been in the family for generations

Notice all the umbrellas…..no, it’s not raining.   In the rain these are called ParaJuvias and when used to protect from the Ecuadorian sun here on the Equator they are called ParaSols.   The word “Para” means “for”, and the word “Juvia” means “rain” and “Sol” means “sun”….so they are “for the rain” or “for the sun”.

Some costumes have been in the family for years

These umbrellas are for the sun here on the Ecuator

They ride for hours in this parade

They ride for hours in this parade

And these little ones are so patient!!

And these little ones are so patient!!

Balcony dwelers have the best view (can you pick out the gringos?)

Balcony dwellers have the best view (can you pick out the gringos?)

Floats of all kinds…..this would be the Egyptian contingent below….

float2

balcony2

The real “eye candy” comes in the form of giant blankets on the horses….candy, cookies, fruits, peppers and every imaginable type of food decorates the horses….this is a tribute to the abundance of Ecuador.

horseback21

Even the little bitty kids get their vehicles decorated

kiddykarts

horseback

You gotta love the one below….if you don’t have the money to buy all the stuff…you can just open up your kitchen cabinet, take out the jello, canned peaches, Coke, etc. and decorate a shopping cart.

cart

And, if you’re a dog….just hang a couple of your chew toys on your little coat, get your hat and boots and join the parade….

dog

Cuenca’s mounted police were in evidence during the holidays….to maneuver around the crowds.

horse-policeI went to the parade with my Spanish teacher….a young Ecuadorian woman who lived in San Diego for 2 years.   Her name is FABIOLA TOLEDO!    Say it yourself and let it roll off your tongue…Fabiola Toledo!!!

Fabiola with one of her MANY admirers!

Fabiola with one of her MANY admirers!

Christmas Day, a small group shared a cozy dinner….our hostess, Mary Ann isn’t in the photo

L to R...Patricia (Seattle), Mark and dog Happy (Montreal), Greg (Vermont), Marie Claire (France), me and David (Tallahassee)

L to R...Patricia (Seattle), Mark and dog Happy (Montreal), Greg (Vermont), Marie Claire (France), me and David (Tallahassee)

Topping off our holiday celebration was New Year’s Eve at my house…..a tradition here in Latin America is to create an effijy to burn at midnight.

Last year, in Panama, I showed you my neighbor’s effijy of Osama Bin Laden sitting on the hood of his car and explained the Latin custom of burning in effijy a life-sized doll representing a person you’d like to get rid of.

new-years

This year, the group here decided to burn, well…..at the risk of offending my NeoCon friends….guess who we chose?????

Here he is in my place before midnight.....can you guess now who it is?

Here he is in my place before midnight.....can you guess now who it is?

We watch on…..hoping for a better New Year.

burningbush11

The finale to the holiday season was my birthday….January 20th….they threw a BIG party on my birthday in Washington, D. C…….but I was here in Cuenca, where my friends Mary Ann and Marie Claire threw me a little birthday party…..Feliz Cumplianos means Happy Birthday (the banner above our heads).

Do I look 66?????  I sure don't feel it!!

Do I look 66????? I sure don't feel it!!

Love and Blessings, and hope you enjoy this post!

Penny


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