The New Year's celebrations here in Ecuador are quite different than in the US. In Asheville we had a few fireworks at midnight for which mom and dad rarely stayed up. Mom always cooked a big breakfast and late lunch for New Year's Day, but that was about it. In Cuenca there are many traditions and celebrations on New Year's Eve.
- The Monigotes are human effigies that are sold or made for people to burn at midnight on New Year's Eve. A Monigote must have a mask. It represents the old year and all the things you want to get rid of or literally burn. It is the old you.
- Las Viudas or Widowers is another tradition where a group of people choose one person to dress up as a widow of the old year. They barricade the streets asking for coins. Some of these widows are very scary, if you asked me.
In many ways this celebration looks like Halloween. In a plaza closed to our home they had all kinds of effigies that they were going to burn at midnight.
- There are many other traditions such as wearing bright colored underwear: yellow to attract money and red to attract love in the new year. Sorry no pictures of that :-) There is also the tradition of going around the block with your suitcase right after midnight to make sure you get to travel in the coming year. And, to attract money, you have to make sure you have cash in your pockets at midnight.
- There are also fancy parades that mom saw just for a bit. Farmers from all the nearby towns bring their trucks adorned with produce and all the people are dressed up. We didn't really know about the parades and by luck mom saw some of it when she went downtown to lunch with some friend. Dad and I missed it all, so something to look forward for next year.
We have our own traditions that we followed here. Mom made pancakes which I really, really like. These were light and fluffy in spite of not being able to find buttermilk here in Cuenca. Mom used El Pino Yogurt instead and I couldn't tell the difference.