Fire & Devil New Year

I rushed back to Banos post Amazonian adventure for what was said to be a great new years celebration.

Back to Banos, with a view!

Back to Banos, with a view!

There are all sorts of traditions here.  The big one is the giant puppets known as Monigotes that are stuffed with hay and burned at midnight.  They are even clothed in real clothing.  The men dress in sexy drag and the women wear yellow bras for good fortune and red underwear for good luck.  Banos is covered in people making the paper mache people of all sizes from two to twenty feet.  There are various huge concert stages set up on what feels like every other corner.  There was an impressive two port potties made of painted cardboard with an out pipe straight to two inches above a sewer.  The actual day is a town wide music festival of people dancing through the streets.  Oddly, or perhaps fittingly for Ecuador, there isn’t really a countdown and fireworks and puppets start burning at random intervals around midnight.  Then, I assume for more good luck, one jumps over the burning puppets.

Sure I forgot to leave my mask on, but Whee!

Sure I forgot to leave my mask on, but Whee!

The festivities don’t stop at new year’s eve here, and I’m told they’ll go on all week.  First up is the new year’s day devil parade in the nearby town of Pillaro.  Sounds more exciting than the rose parade I grew up with.  The family that runs the hostel I’m in was nice enough to bring me to this small town.

We stopped at a town that specializes in Ecuadorian arepas that are nothing like Colombian or Venezuelan ones.  This one was pumpkin.

We stopped at a town that specializes in Ecuadorian arepas that are nothing like Colombian or Venezuelan ones. This one was pumpkin.

We got there a bit early and took the extra time to wander around town admiring all the handicrafts.

The first mask I saw was plastered in all sorts of horns.  A hint of things to come.

The first mask I saw was plastered in all sorts of horns. A hint of things to come.

I was rather impressed with all these hand made masks and how expensive they were for this country.

I'm not sure why, but there were a lot of human masks.

I’m not sure why, but there were a lot of human masks.  Refreshingly it had faces of all sorts, not just pretty ones.

The real attraction was definitely the devil masks though.

So many devil masks.

So many devil masks.

The fancy ones start having extra horns, extra teeth, even extra heads or dragons attached.

This is some Alien like monster action.  Wooga wooga wooga!

This is some Alien like monster action. Wooga wooga wooga!

These masks are going to haunt my dreams and I wondered what exactly made them so darned amazing.  Nothing I’d seen made of paper mache looked like this.

Then we found out it was real animal horns.  That lower left mask even has real dog teeth.  Creepy.

Then we found out it was real animal horns. That lower left mask even has real dog teeth. Creepy.

Luckily not all the masks are so terrifying.

This one was gaudy with LED lights and glitter.

This one was gaudy with LED lights and glitter.

The parade was running on Ecuadorian time, so it was scheduled for an hour and a half after it started last year.  Except, it’s Ecuador, so it started yet another hour and half after that.  We took a break to go step in the local church, every town has one.

Why is there a creepy patron baby saint of cops with Ecuadorian flag belt?

Why is there a creepy patron baby saint of cops with Ecuadorian flag belt?

Finally, after the crowd had gathered for a while the parade started.

That's a lot of devils.  The groups of kids were particularly cute.  They all walked down the street grunting like demons.

That’s a lot of devils. The groups of kids were particularly cute. They all walked down the street grunting like demons.

It wasn’t just for devils though, the people masks made a great return.

I'm not sure if this was a continuation of new year's eve cross dressing but they were supposed to be Spaniards.

I’m not sure if this was a continuation of new year’s eve cross dressing but they were supposed to be Spaniards.

Every devil carried stuff in their hand.  A lot of them carried water or alcohol, there were a lot of whips, and most disturbingly, lots of animals.

The most popular animal was dead skunks.  Some still reeked of skunk.

The most popular animal was dead skunks. Some still reeked of skunk.

Although there was one thing worse than a skunk.

This hawk looks like it just died today.  Disease ridden, anyone?

This hawk looks like it just died today. Disease ridden, anyone?

It wasn’t all depressing though, someone brought their pet.

This iguana looked pretty calm about all the ruckus around him.

This iguana looked pretty calm about all the ruckus around him.

As the parade went on, the costumes got bigger and more elaborate.

This guy could barely walk without whacking into the crowd.

This guy could barely walk without whacking into the crowd.

The parade went on for multiple hours but we got tired after a couple.  I’m glad I got to see it though.  After all this travel and excitement I’m taking a few days of down time in Banos to, as my friend put it, let me soul catch up to my body.  Banos is a town of hot springs and it is nice to soak and do nothing in them.  Happy Devilish 2013!

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1 comment
  1. riotise said:

    geez the doll in the glass case is way creepier than the devil’s masks

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