Thursday, January 1, 2015

New Years Eve near Quito

Diana and Luis arrived in the afternoon to our hotel near the new Quito Airport, while I was still in transit via Panama City. They went for a walk around the area and met with a family across the street that were preparing oversize dolls in preparation for their New Year's Eve celebrations. At midnight, the family will burn the dolls as s symbol of the outgoing near and in preparation for the new year that is coming. They invited us to join their celebrations around midnight, so after I arrived at the hotel, we got ready for the party in classic New Year's Eve style.

Luis and Diana get ready for New Year's Eve in Ecuador
When we arrived, they taught us how to play a festive game where there are an odd number of dancers and one broom. One person dances with the broom while others dance in pairs. At one point, the dancer with the broom puts the broom on the floor and everyone must switch partners. Whomever doesn't find a partner must take a shot and then dance with the broom. Think musical chairs, but with a dancing partner! Everyone played from the children (their parents would take their shot for them) to the grandparents, and it was quite fun with people scrabbling madly to find a partner and not be the next one to dance with the broom. After several rounds of Luis, Diana, and I successfully finding partners, I ended up without a partner. I was ready to dance with my rather uncooperative partner, but it was almost midnight, and time to set up the dolls that were to be burned.

A match was tossed on the dolls, fireworks were lit, the music played, and everyone went to everyone giving hugs and happily saying "Feliz año!" Then, the dancing recommenced.

This time, however, the dancing game consisted of jumping over the fire.

The dancing proceeded through the evening. We turned in because we had to be up to catch a 9am flight the next day, but they music continued long into the night (4am I think...). Traditionally, after the celebrations and dancing, they go inside and continue the festivities with a feast. However the family we were celebrating with had not prepared one due to many of the family arriving from Quito (which is at least 45 minutes away) late in the day so there was not time to prepare one this year.

The following morning as we were leaving, the family was up the same time we were, heading to the strawberry field they own to begin another days work. It was a wonderful event and we were fortunate to have been invited to partake in the festivities. We hope everyone enjoyed New Years in whatever way you like to celebrate!

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