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Friday, 31 December 2010

In one of my previous posts I included some pictures of paper heads.  I did find some of them well done and interesting.  They actually resembled some real faces and you could see that they were made by artists.  I was curious about their meaning.   It turns out that they are not being sold the whole year around but only in the period proceeding the  New Year.  I was surprised to learn that they will be burned tonight. 

The Ecuadorians say goodbye to the old year by burning some symbols of misfortune. They build dummies that represent a person, an event or activity that resulted in a negative impact on the community or someone's well-being.  This might be a politician, a judge, or other community leader (or maybe even a neighbor ?) whose actions you disapprove of. If this is a prominent figure then the appropriate head  can be bought and fixed at the top of a dummy to represent the person. Hence so many masks are being sold all over the country.  At the midnight the dummies are being burned.

I think that the above explained idea was the origin for all kinds of other figures and creatures being made and sold on the street for the purpose of burning.  It seems that nowadays people not only burn the bad figures from the past year, but also all kind of other well known figures from the movies, shows, etc. Therefore, today's burning lost, in my opinion, the significance of burning away the misfortunes of the past. It seems that it just became a very original way of greeting the New Year. Especially that also some fireworks are added into the burning figures and also competition are being held in some places for a most elaborate and most interesting structures to be burned.

I went to town today to take some more pictures.  They are without any particular order.  Just shots that I found interesting.  I hope that they give you a peak into the life in the Ecuadorian rural community.   I managed to take some picture of the figures that will be burned tonight.  I might go out before midnight to see the happening.  If I will be allowed to do that by my mates who are a little paranoid about the danger here.


Posted byJ23


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