YFU Switzerland

New Year’s celebration in Ecuador

I was really excited for New Year’s eve here because I had heard a lot about it.

It’s a tradition here to burn “año viejos” or also just called “muñecos”. This is supposed to bring luck. Often people burn “themselves”. Meaning that they burn their old year, so they can start a totally new one with lots of luck. There was a big market of those muñecos in the city. They are made from paper and glue and can be whatever you want. This year they sold many fantasy figures and disney princesses for the kids. The market also offered paper heads. Those heads are made to look similar to someone. I never understood why their skin colour always is red 😉 The heads are meant to be bought (for about 3$) so the people can make the bodies themselves. That I did with my host sister. We made a “body” out of wood, put on our old clothes, filled it with newspapers and put on the heads we had bought.

They also make an annual competition in Portoviejo, where they choose the best “scenes” portraied with muñecos. So there were about 10 of these scenes spread in the city. On the 30th in the evening we went to look at them by car and we had to wait a lot in the traffic. But it was “vale la pena” (worth the pain). I really liked some of the presentations. The one that won was a group that had made a huge scene with many different muñecos about recycling. It was very good and I also liked the message. The winners received 3000$. I think that’s a really beautiful tradition Portoviejo has.

There were muñecos even taller than this one

There were muñecos even taller than this one

The huge market with over 50 stands

The huge market with over 50 stands

My host sister and me with "ourselves"

My host sister and me with “ourselves”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On New Year’s eve we went to the house of the aunt that lives in the city. We got there at about 9 o’clock. Everyone put on nice clothes and some make-up for the girls. At about 11.30 we went outside in the street and started to burn the muñecos. It was really loud outside. Ecuadorians like to say goodbye to the old year with a lot of noise 😉 . There were also people that let off fireworks. At 12 o’clock we ate 12 grapes (a spanish tradition) and everyone kissed everyone on the cheeks and wished “feliz año”. After that we ate (of course meat with rice, how could it be different) and then we played games. At about 4 am. They put on music and started dancing. I was very tired at that time but I still danced too. We first came home very late, so we all slept until mid day.

The muñecos before being burned to ashes

The muñecos before being burned to ashes

There were many of these fires on the street

There were many of these fires on the street

Beach day on the 1st of january

Beach day on the 1st of january

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

At about 4 o’clock in the afternoon we drove to the beach. It is very common here in the coast to spend the 1st of january at the beach, so there were quite some people on the street. We then bathed until it got dark. It was nice to start my year of 2016 with a bath in the pacific 🙂

I personally didn’t make any new year’s resolutions. I am very excited about what 2016 will bring  me and I hope that my exchange year will become great after all.

I wish everyone a happy new year and all the best for 2016!