New Years Eve found most people enjoying a beautiful day at the beach and then coming out later in the evening for the festivities.
Soon after dark it was the most amazing thing I have ever seen or heard in my life. The fireworks started and continued well past midnight. Everything came to a fever pitch around 11:30 when the bonfires were set and started to explode in tandem with the pounding and flashing of the fireworks. Many carried or dragged their effigies down the street to find the perfect spot. They were then added to the 30 or more stacks that could be found up and down the beach. With the fireworks came the vendors selling everything from cotton candy to flashing toys.
First I want to show more of the effigies that we saw around the city.
Above and several below are pieces to be judge in the Los Palmeras section
I have been talking to Ecuadorians about the traditions for the new year. There are many but the most important is the torching of the effigies or “años viejos” old years. These dummys are made from old clothes or paper-mache’ and are stuff with paper and some even have firecrackers, notes with all the bad things that happened in the past year are added and then one gentleman told me his wife would jump over the body three times for good luck in the new year. These are then taken out to the street or in our case put on the beach and set on fire.
Other traditions are:
Men dressing up as “crazy widows” who lost their husband Old Year (in Spanish “loca viuda”) that beg for money. Burying your wishes for the next year in a bowl of rice, eating 12 grapes, cleaning the house on New Year’s Day, and walking around the block with your suitcase if you want to travel in the coming year. And the last was wearing either yellow or red panties. Yellow for prosperity and red for romance.
After doing all these things you should have a fabulous New Year!!