MindStorm Photography Blog and Gallery

Travel and Photographs by Burt Johnson and Evelyn Johnson

Subdued New Year’s Eve in Cuenca

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - politicians

As usual, politicians were mocked throughout the large neighborhood dioramas. Clinton, Obama and Trump were all represented from the States, plus an assortment of Ecuadorian political figures.

This was our fifth New Year's Eve in Ecuador.  Except for 2015 in Salinas, we have spent each of them in Cuenca. Our first was at the end of 2012, and was easily the largest and most elaborate we have seen here.  Each year since then has been smaller, and this year was much more subdued than any prior celebration.  There were fewer elaborate dioramas, fewer manigotes (effigies), fewer fireworks, fewer cars decorated with their manigotes and fewer people walking around el Centro. There were supposedly 19 entries for the annual neighborhood Amistad Club contest, however with no map nor addresses published, people walked to their favorite spots looking lost and saying "nada".

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - nazi

Given the vitriol that Trump spewed towards Latin Americans, it was not surprising that he was a major target of ridiculing.

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - manigotes

There were a smattering of other manigotes around town, some humorous, but most poking fun at various politicos.

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - cars

There were a few cars driving around with their manigotes tied to the roof or bumper, but far fewer than past years.

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - food

As always, food was plentiful. There was even tripe (3rd row right) this year, and a manigote of a woman cooking cuy (2nd row left).

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - characters

There was the usual collection of characters and toll collectors having fun.

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - kids

Kids were enjoying themselves, whether climbing trees (middle left) or reading a tablet (upper right), or playing with sparklers.

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - fire-small

Many families started burning their own manigotes before midnight this year.

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - fire-large

Though the large neighborhood bonfires started at midnight, which has been the tradition. However, it did not feel like a war zone of numerous fires this year, as it has in the past.

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - fire-audience

 The smaller crowds enjoyed the ritual of burning bad thoughts from the past year, and starting the new year fresh.

New Year's Eve Cuenca Ecuador 2016 - gobo

As we arrived home, our neighbors were preparing to launch their globo (paper sky lantern written with all the hopes they wished for in the new year, such as "salud, dinero, amistad, familia...)  Though now formally discontinued in town, after 2 churches caught fire in 2013, this family has continued to launch one each New Year's Eve.


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