Feliz Año 2017

Dear Friends:  Well, Año Viejo made up for all we missed at Christmas. At least that was the case for me, as Michael decided not to make the long, panting hike up the mountain to join the end-of-year procession that lasted all afternoon and into the evening, through heavy fog and sprinkling rain, and finally included about 1000 folks (almost all in incredible masks and disguises). Michael and Paiwa, visiting for the holiday, stayed happily by the fire, but I joined them later for an important event at our house.  It was a wonderful experience! This annual celebration on the last day of the year is apparently unique to the community of Quilloac, made up of about eight or so comunas – distinct hamlets, each with a theme they were to act out with disguises and masks. We hiked to each comuna, where a stage was set for a short program before we marched on with those comuneros joining. I confess I couldn’t tell one theme from another, but the masks and costumes were very funny – many men dressed as women and maybe women dressed as men – harder to tell. Those in disguise stayed in character all day – giving speeches at each comuna – (someone dressed as an elder speaking in high, quivering voice, for example). Many jokes in Kichwa passed me by, but the crowd loved every minute, and for me the visual spectacle made it all worthwhile. This guy below pushed a stroller with two “babies” the whole day.  

But by the end of the day, after climbing up over 11,000 feet and shooting all day, I was too tired and cold to wait for the performances at the end point- the Quilloac school complex – and to hear who had won prizes for the best themes.     

I have to give credit here to my excellent assistant, godson Luis Gabriel, ten years old, who took charge of my pocket camera and charged up the mountain ahead of me to shoot photos as I was left breathless on the roadside.. (That is his mother Mercedes behind him on his right – an old friend, early scholarship graduate, lawyer, with other community leaders who invited me for this event. What I missed later was the burning of the giant effigies at midnight, after the performances and music and dancing. Earlier I’d seen students building them.


But then we had our own event back at home. Paiwa had found a small monigote in town (a cousin of Spongebob Squarepants) and brought it to Michael to make an effigy. It worked perfectly with the Trump mask he’d found last week. They dressed him up with my garden gloves and made a bonfire ready to light when I got home about 7:00.

 We were in bed with our books by 9:30 or so, but awakened abruptly at midnight with volleys of bombas – some sounding as though on top of our house – and fireworks near and far that went on for about 15 minutes. Then all was quiet and we knew 2017 was here…

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11 thoughts on “Feliz Año 2017

  1. Yes, amazing. Like Michael we ignored most of it here in Uzhupud, except that the music across the valley went on until 4:30 am and some of the locals were delivered to their homes nearly unrecognizable, drunk.

  2. So wonderful, Judy. Your Christmas story reminded me of one we experienced many years ago when we went with the kids to a Christmas Eve celebration at Donald’s brothers and then didn’t plan anything much for Christmas Day, thinking the evening before was enough or at least the adults felt that). But we all ended up rather mopey. So I’m happy that your New Year’s Eve was better. I’m sorry we missed burning Donald Trump in effigy. I would have liked that. But we were sound asleep by then, jet-lagged from two weeks in England visiting with Nora (who is doing exceptionally well) and some family of Donald’s and enjoying a very green Christmas. We returned to two feet of snow at the farm, where Donald has been working with Devan putting down new floors in the main bedroom and I’ve been cooking, washing up and playing with Lillian. A lovely breakfast with all the young organic farmers on the road this morning, a great way to start the new year. Our love to Michael and to you.

  3. The colorful masks and costumes are so lovely. And the “Donald Trump ”
    burning effigy is so very clever.
    I really enjoyed your post Judy.
    Thanks and Happy New Year from PDX, Deborah

  4. Love the Trump effigy burning. Wonder what he would think of it? The photos provided a momentary catharsis for me. I will have to build my own effigy and burn it.

  5. Judy and Michael,

    Happy New Year to you both !

    Wonderful description and pictures of your New Year ..

    Uzhupud was indeed ‘on fire’ on nye – the best fireworks display we’re ever seen in Ecuador. From a neighbor’s house high on the hill, we saw a stunning display over the valley. Hope you will make the trek to Uzhupud and visit us this year ! abrazos, Sue and Edward

  6. Happy New Year, Judy and Michael. The costumes are beautiful. I love thinking about millions of D.T. effigies being burnt all over the world.

  7. Jude, as always I loved every pixel of your New Year chronicle. The burning of the DT,
    the “guy” with the stroller, (and who wouldn’t love the girl with the taped on breasts, or was that a guy?) But my favorite photo is the one of your 10 year old God son,Luis Gabriel, so handsome with his camera and his purpose. I see another young soul
    blooming under your guidance. You amaze me with your strength, running about at
    11,000 feet, even if you do have to catch your breath by the roadside every now and
    then. You are awesome! Happy New Year. Love, your sister Char

  8. Another great post and photos!! Happy New Year to you and Michael…may it be a peaceful one…

  9. Querida Judy, estuve sumamente ocupada los últimos meses trabajando en el II volumen del cancionero y luego el 31 de diciembre estuve viajando hacia Europa. Acá estoy desde ese día en un proceso de estudio sobre la salud. Me paso entre Bruselas y Madrid. He ido guardando todas las crónicas para poder leerlas todas y ponerme al día. Me gustan mucho todas las aventuras, las fotografías, los eventos. Muchas gracias por compartir siempre. Antonio y Ángela están en Costa Rica y en este momento comparten apartamento y se apoyan mutuamente. Antonio trabaja en algunos negocios y de su papá y tiene muchas ganas de vivir definitivamente en Costa Rica pero vamos a ver qué pasa.

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