Wednesday, February 13, 2013


Carnaval. A national holiday in Ecuador, getting 9-5 workers two vacation days. Basically an excuse to throw eggs, shoot water, and spray silly string at every single person in sight.

What is all this about? Well, let me tell you. Over the past few weeks I've been hearing all about Carnaval, evidently an insanely crazy phenomenon which gives anyone permission to shoot water and throw all sorts of food and messy stuff on others who are playing. A friend made sure to explain to me that the government has rules against abusive behavior: if those armed with water guns or flour shoot someone who has no interest in playing or clearly stated their sentiments against the game, the perpetrator will be fined $15 for assaulting the victim. Eek! Both it's mostly young people who play anyway, so we're all fair game.

After several attempts to find out the meaning behind this wacko holiday, I still don't understand how the tradition started or what exactly we're supposed to be celebrating. But hey, why not go out and have a great time getting messy (one step down from a food fight) one day of your life? Sounds like an adventure to me. Plus, I've always secretly wanted to be in a food fight. This might be the closest I'll ever get!

So, this past Saturday I went to Machachi to meet up with my friend from church to see (and participate in) the parade. The parade in this particular town is dubbed Cascaronazo, deriving from the word "cascara" which means egg shell. Now I didn't see too many people throwing eggs, but we went crazy with foam and colored flour! As we were watching the parade go by, people would shoot us with the foam and even paint. I turned around for a split second, and felt someone's hand on my face. When my friends started laughing I realized that the person had splattered me with dark blue paint! After the parade we bought some blue and red flour to throw on people, as a defense from the foam. Hehe. It was quite the day! Here is some photographic evidence:

First float of the parade

A dance group

One of the many beautifully decorated floats

A local high school band playing

Noemí, Raquel, and I after the parade

Here is a short video of the parade. Gives you some idea of the craziness!

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