Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Corpus Christi

June is a month full of fiestas occurring throughout Ecuador. Corpus Christi came and went last weekend (I was too preoccupied with being ill and getting Maya ready for her competition to organize an outing to one of the big parades that happened in many of the small towns throughout the country). I spent some time today watching Youtube videos of the event in Pujili, near Latacunga.

Corpus Christi is a celebration of the eucharist in Catholic countries, and occurs nine weeks after Easter, which was June 3 this year (it is a moveable date). Participants wear huge and colourful headresses. I looked through my photos of my visits to the Jacchigua Folkloric Dance performance, and found examples of the typical costumes worn during the celebration.

Corpus Christi is often combined with the Inti Raymi festival which occurs at the summer solstice, a few weeks from now. Inti Raymi is a huge celebration for the indigenous people, especially those who live in the sierra. The festival of St. John the Baptist and that of St Peter and St Paul are significant events that are celebrated in many small towns throughout the country.

I enjoy the costumes and the pageantry and the music and the dance, and try not to miss any of the major fiestas, although I missed Corpus Christi this year. I will have to try to get to Otavalo for Inti Raymi, or to one of the the smaller towns for St Peter and St Paul. The fiestas are best celebrated in the small towns. Quito is somewhat removed from these events, so it is easy to get caught up in one's interior life and miss what is happening in the countryside. To truly experience these fiestas, it is important to find a small town known for its particular event. We were lucky to visit Latacunga for Mama Negra, and El Quinche for the procession of the Virgin, as well as Ollantaytambo when we were in Peru.

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