Fat Tuesday

4 Mar

Fat Tuesday marks the very last day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The name comes from the idea that this Tuesday is the last day available for gluttony and gorging before the fasting of the Lenten season. Ecuador, like many Catholic countries, celebrates with a “carnival day” including a parade.

In Cuenca, Fat Tuesday is marked with a special way of celebrating, spray foam. Starting more than two weeks before, store shelves are filled with gaudy aerosol cans of white foam. Schools let out on Thursday with a street party. The kids chase each other with foam cans and super soakers. At the parade foam flies everywhere, aimed mostly at the marchers, especially dancers.

The temper of the spectators was exuberant and joyful as school bands and dancers marched from one end of Cuenca to the other.

Cuy, guinea pig, is a traditional Andean dish that once was only available to royalty. One parade float featured a native hut complete with an open fire where a cuy roasted. The fire was constantly fanned and the cuy thoroughly cooked by the end of the parade.

Other floats had surprising combinations of religion and carnival.

The floats passed by for over two hours as Cuencanos watched and cheered.

The parade ended on San Francisco Plaza. While local fireman sprayed the kids with foam and water canons, others played in the central fountain and some performers continued dancing.


2 Responses to “Fat Tuesday”

  1. Dede March 5, 2019 at 11:43 pm #

    Oh my goodness, what a mess!! Did you get “hit”? Sure looks like fun.

    • Jill and Dana March 6, 2019 at 12:08 am #

      Yes we did catch some foam but nothing like the dancers. We were forewarned but it was really nothing. The foam just evaporates and the kids love spraying each other. They were playing in the water from the cannon on the firetruck…totally soaked.

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