Starting December 15, Ecuadorians gather in their houses or with their church congregations to sing carols. In Cuenca, ‘La Novena’ will begin at the Convent of Carmen de la Asunción (Calle Sucre y Padre Aguirre) at 5:00pm. There will be daily masses and carol singing until Christmas Eve the 24th of December.
If you happen to be in Cuenca on Christmas Eve make sure you don’t miss Pasa del Niño Viajero. Cuencanos love to celebrate and during the year there are many wonderful celebrations. But this one has to be one of the more spectacular events as it brings Ecuadorians together from the very young to the very old. The Cuenca Christmas pageant is known to be one of the biggest Christmas pageants throughout Ecuador.
The pageant represents the travelling baby Jesus and therefore you will see that children form a large part of this pageant. The streets are filled with floats but only one can be the principal float which carried the statue of the baby Jesus and this float heads to the Catederal de la Immaculada. Once it has arrived a special religious service is conducted in honor of the birth of Christ.
On Christmas Eve, Ecuadorian families get together to feast. It is traditional to eat stuffed turkey or chicken with various sauces, fruits, salads and rice with cheese or corn, usually accompanied by wine.
At midnight on Christmas Eve many Cuecanos gather for midnight mass in on of the cities beautiful churches. The generally fill up with locals and expats and sometimes it is standing room only.