Tag Archive for: Ecuador Traditions

Laugh along w/ us as we celebrate New Years Eve in Cuenca Ecuador

We had such an AMAZING New Year’s Eve with our friends here in Cuenca Ecuador! The India crew was reunited with Paul, Patrick, Abin, Chinnu, Amelia and JP. Chinnu’s nephew Francis also made a brief appearance in the video. We celebrated the 2020 New Year by burning monigotes and partying with all our neighbors in Parque El Vergel.

Last year, the monigotes were sold by the stadium near Supermaxi El Vergel, but this year they were sold on Avenida 1 de Mayo near Tres Puentes. Chinnu’s small monigote cost $3 + $2 for the mask. Our large monigote cost $5 + $2 for the mask. The large fancy monigotes made to look like popular figures cost only $15.

The store where Amelia and Chinnu bought their tiaras is called Duquesa Bisutería Fina. It’s located east of Solano on Avenida 27 de Febrero. They have all sorts of cool costume jewelry. Amelia’s tiara cost $12.80 and Chinuu’s was $14.

Watch Our Video About New Year’s Eve in Cuenca Ecuador

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Ecuador Holiday Traditions: Pase del Nino Viajero Christmas Eve Parade Cuenca Ecuador

Feliz Navidad!!! We ventured down to El Centro in Cuenca Ecuador yesterday to watch the annual Christmas Eve Pase del Niño Viajero Parade (Passing of the Traveling Child). We had so much fun watching the dancing and seeing the colors!

In this video, we’ll talk about some of the traditions that you see in the parade, like the cars and horses covered in candy and sweets, and the dancing around the maypole or Baile de Cintas.

And a big thank you to Marcia Torres Guerra, one of our amazing patrons on Patreon who sent us an amazing gift via her sister Maria Lorena from MLT Art! If you would like an awesome gift or heirloom quality art for your home, you can get almost any image carved into wood and hand-painted. ¡Es increíble!

Hopefully you enjoyed our video, and if you did, please LIKE, COMMENT and SHARE it, and SUBSCRIBE to our YouTube channel. ¡Muchas Gracias y Hasta Luego!

Watch Our Video About Ecuador’s Holiday Traditions

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Cuenca Ecuador Carnival

Another beautiful, tranquilo Sunday during the days of Cuenca Ecuador Carnival 2019. We logged over 24,000 steps walking around Cuenca in this day in the life video, and we share many of those steps with you.

We started the day with a long walk around our vecino (neighborhood) de El Vergel. Daisy even made a couple of friends along the way.

It’s Carnival here in Cuenca, which means you need to watch out for water balloons and spray foam. It’s tradition to get people wet by any means possible during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday. We barely missed getting hit by two water balloons thrown from a moving car on our way home from Supermaxi on Friday. The threat is real, people.

Carnaval FoamDaisy

We stopped in for jugos at Café de Alicia next door to the Old Cathedral in Cuenca’s El Centro. Amelia had a jugo de guanabana and I had a jugo de mango. They were both delicious and only cost $1.70 each. In the states, an orange juice that size would easily cost $4, and good luck finding guanabana or mango juice.

Amelia loves being physically active. She does yoga almost everyday, as well as belly dancing and pole fitness. That’s on top of our 10,000 steps on an average day. That’s why I call her my little hummingbird. She’s always fluttering around doing something.

Since Fratello was closed for the holiday, we ate lunch at home and decided to go to Namaste India for dinner. While we were there, Chinnu taught us some words in her native language of Malayalam. She grew up on the southern tip of India in a rural fishing village so Hindi isn’t her native language. That has to be one of the hardest languages to learn. It’s all vowels and the words go on for miles!

This is what “nice to meet you” looks like in Malayalam: നിന്നെ കാണാനായതിൽ സന്തോഷം. And here is the phonetic pronunciation: ninne kāṇānāyatil santēāṣaṁ. Good luck with that!

We had such an amazing day here in Cuenca during Carnaval! And we’re excited to share it with you! Just remember, if you’re ever in Cuenca during the week leading up to Ash Wednesday, stay on the lookout for water balloons because they may contain more than just water!

Watch Our Video About the Carnival Cuenca Ecuador

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Cuenca Gas Truck Song Lyrics and English Translation (Cuenca’s Anthem)

The Cuenca Ecuador gas truck song lyrics come from a song written about Cuenca after it was named a Unesco World Heritage Site. I guess you could call it Cuenca’s anthem song. I’ve done my best to translate the lyrics based on the context, but please feel free to correct me if I’ve made a mistake.

The dialect of Spanish that’s spoken in this part of Ecuador has roots in Quechua, which is the native language of the indigenous Cañari people who have lived in this area since the 6th century.

That means a lot of words and phrases either have a Quechua origin, or they’re a combination of Quechua and Spanish, which makes them REALLY hard to translate!

Here are the full lyrics of the Cuenca song in Spanish:

Title: “Por Eso Te Quiero Cuenca”

Por tus cholas buenas mozas,
por tus longos bien plantados,
por tus mañanas preciosas,
y tus cielos estrellados.

Por tus ríos cantadores,
por tus chapas pitadores,
por tus cuyes bien asados,
y por tu mote pelado.

En la fiesta de El Vado
y en la del Septenario
todos hemos bailado ya nuestro suelto de “arroz quebrado”,
como buenos cuencanos por siempre amamos las tradiciones.

Esta mi tierra linda con miles de doctores
todos han admirado a los poetas que hay por docenas
Cuenca es la tierra linda del buen Zhumir y el agua caliente
Por eso… Por eso… ¡Por eso te quiero Cuenca!

Cuenca Gas Truck Song Lyrics in English

Title: “That’s Why I Love You Cuenca” (literally, “For That, I Love You Cuenca”)

For your indigenous women, good girls,
for your young ones, well rooted,
for your precious mornings,
and your starry skies.

For your singing rivers,
for your thin dogs, (literally, “thin veneer metal or wood plates,” but that doesn’t make sense in this context; Pitador is a breed of dog that’s common in Ecuador – a cross between a Pitbull and a Labrador)
for your guinea pigs well roasted, (cuy, or guinea pig, is a traditional Ecuadorian dish)
and for your peeled, cooked corn.

At the party of El Vado (the oldest neighborhood in Cuenca founded in 1557)
and in the Septenary (aka Corpus Christi, a Catholic holiday)
we have all, already released our “arroz quebrado” dance, (literally, “broken rice” dance, which is the name of a traditional Ecuadorian musical genre, as well as a specific song and dance)
As good Cuencanos, we always love our traditions.

This is my land with thousands of doctors
all have admired the poets, there by the dozens
Cuenca is the beautiful land of good Zhumir and hot water (Zhumir is an alcohol made from sugarcane that’s similar to rum; hot water refers to the volcanic hot springs)
That’s why … That’s why … That’s why I love you Cuenca!

Confusing Translations

This song was NOT easy to translate! It’s full of Cuencano expressions that I couldn’t find translated on the web. I did my best to piece the individual word meanings together to construct a contextual translation, but some expressions could have multiple meanings.

For example, “cholas buenas mozas” might be better translated to “indigenous women with big butts,” but I find it hard to believe that phrase would be in Cuenca’s anthem! ?

The phrase, “tus longos bien plantados,” could also be a slang reference to indigenous children, but I don’t know enough Spanish or Quechua to be certain.

Please, if you know Spanish and/or Quechua, let me know if you have better English translations for the Cuenca song.

Cuenca Gas Truck Song Lyrics in Spanish

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New Years Eve in Cuenca Ecuador

This was our second New Year’s Eve in Cuenca Ecuador, but I was sick last year so we didn’t leave the house. This year, we logged over 15 miles in our day in the life walking around Cuenca looking at the monigotes.

If you’d like more background on the monigotes, or effigies, check out our last video: Preparing for New Years in Cuenca with Monigotes and Black Eyed Peas.

Each neighborhood has a monigote contest and the winning monigote gets set on fire at midnight. We weren’t sure where to go for the best viewing, so we decided to wander around El Centro in the afternoon to find the best spot. After seeing a couple of displays, we headed back home to eat dinner and do some research online about where to go.

New Year's Eve in Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes

Lucky for us, Amelia found that our neighborhood of El Vergel has a great New Year’s Eve party and monigote display, so we left the house around 8:30 PM to go check it out. The party was already in full swing with live music and lots of monigotes.

Since it was still early, we decided to walk back down to El Centro to look for more of the displays we found online. We also saw lots of men in drag dancing in the streets and collecting money. The funniest ones were the men dressed like indigenous women dancing in the streets. We’re not sure what the money went to, but they were very entertaining.

New Year's Eve in Cuenca Ecuador Men In Drag

After walking up and down the streets in El Centro for a couple hours, we walked back home for a snack and then back down to the park in El Vergel to countdown the new year and see the monigotes set ablaze.

It’s hard to describe the atmosphere on New Year’s Eve in Cuenca Ecuador, and the video doesn’t do it justice. At midnight, everyone sets theirNew Year's Eve in Cuenca Ecuador Fires monigotes on fire with fireworks exploding all around and people throwing firecrackers and other fireworks up in the air and into the crowds. Small children were lighting fireworks and throwing monigotes on piles of other burning monigotes.

In the US, none of this would be legal or allowed, but it’s “tradition” in Ecuador and other Latin American countries. The Cuencanos will be ready for armageddon because they live through it every year on New Year’s Eve!

Watch Our Video About New Years Eve in Cuenca, Ecuador

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Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes – Burning of the Effigies

Cuenca Ecuador Monigotes are everywhere! Each year on New Year’s Eve, Ecuadorians and people throughout Latin America burn monigotes in the street as a way of casting out the old and welcoming in the new.

The word “monigote” literally translates to ragdoll, but a more accurate translation would be effigy. They’re also called Año Viejos, which translates to Old Year Things.

The monigotes are made of paper-mâché or fabric and are usually filled with straw or sawdust. Some are also filled with firecrackers so when they’re burned, they make quite the show and they’re very noisy.

It’s common in Ecuador to put a mask on the monigote that looks like a specific person. Some people even print pictures of politicians or members of opposing soccer teams and affix them to the monigotes.

I’m guessing a few bosses and ex-boyfriends or girlfriends also make their way onto a monigote or two. Our friend from Venezuela says, “That’s playing with voodoo, which is playing with fire!”

We’re looking forward to venturing out on Monday night (New Years Eve) to film the burning of the monigotes in El Centro. We’re not quite sure what to expect, but we’re guessing lots of people, fires and smoke. Stay tuned!

Black Eyed Peas Tradition

Black Eyed Peas New Year TraditionMy family (JP) comes from Missouri, which is a southern state where Black Eyed Peas are considered good luck to eat on New Year’s Day.

There are several theories/myths about this tradition dating back to The Civil War, and even though we’re not superstitious, it can’t hurt to eat some delicious Black Eyed Peas on New Year’s Day!

See More: New Years Eve in Cuenca Ecuador

Watch Our Video About The Monigotes Tradition in Cuenca Ecuador

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Cuenca Ecuador Christmas Parade: Pase del Niño

Christmas in Cuenca Ecuador is bustling with activities and parades like this one. Pase del Niño (literally translated means Passing of the Child) is the Cuenca Ecuador Christmas Parade that attracts people from all over Ecuador and beyond. Over 120,000 people were expected to attend this years parade, which kicks off 3 months of celebrations leading to Easter Sunday.

Cuenca Ecuador Christmas ParadeCuenca Ecuador Christmas Parade

The parade started almost an hour late, and there was about 20 minutes between the first several bands and floats. In the US, people would either leave or they wouldn’t attend an event that starts so late with such a slow pace. But here in Latin America, that’s business as usual so everyone was calm and well mannered.

Most people wandered around talking to other people before the parade started and during the lulls between attractions. Then once something arrived in the vicinity, everyone gathered along the very narrow route to watch, clap, take pictures and enjoy the music and colorful costumes.

See More: New Years Eve in Cuenca Ecuador (Episode 48)

Watch Our Video About Cuenca Ecuador Christmas Parade

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Cuenca Ecuador Christmas Lights

After our delicious and relaxing dinner, we went for a walk along the Tomebamba River to see the Cuenca Ecuador Christmas Lights. We ended our walk at Otorongo Plaza, which is the location of the giant Christmas Tree of Lights.

Cuenca Ecuador Christmas Lights on the Tomebamba

It’s hard to believe this is our second Christmas in Ecuador. The Cuenca Ecuador Christmas Lights over the Tomebamba River that runs through the center of Cuenca were the same last year, but the tree in Otorongo plaza was quite different. It was the same structure, but the lights were bright Christmas colors last year. This year, they were all white. It was very pretty both ways.

See More: Cuenca Ecuador Christmas Parade: Pase del Niño

Watch Our Video of the Cuenca Ecuador Christmas Lights

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Celebrating Cuenca’s Independence Day

This weekend is bustling with activity here in Cuenca Ecuador as we celebrate Cuenca Days 2018. Cuenca achieved its independence from Spain on November 3rd, 1820 and they pull out all the stops to celebrate Independence Day with art fairs, food festivals, parades, concerts and fireworks.

Doce de Abril, the main road along the Tomebamba River, is lined with tents this time of year. People from all over Ecuador come to sell art, crafts, plants, clothes, masks, hats, jewelry and more.

Cuenca Days 2018 Arte Sign

Cuenca Days 2018 Monster

We often see people from Amazonian tribes selling their handcrafted merchandise and medicinal herbs at the Cuenca festivals. It’s fascinating to see their facial tattoos and long beautiful hair. Ecuadorians in general have amazing hair, but the Amazonian people take it to a whole new level.Cuenca Days 2018 Native Woman

Thousands of people descend on our little Andean mountain city this time every year, while many of the native Cuencanos head to the coast to escape the chaos. The streets, parks and restaurants are packed with people, and everyone seems to be thoroughly enjoying themselves.

We hope you enjoy seeing the beautiful scenery, and the interesting people during Cuenca Days 2018 here in Cuenca, Ecuador.

Watch Our Video About Cuenca Ecuador’s Independence Day

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