Traveling can be so serendipitous!
When you least expect it, you just show up at the right time and you weren’t even invited.
But glad you’re there.
The plan was to drive the short distance from Otavalo (Ecuador) to Cotacachi and shop for hand made leather goods for which the town is known.
However, our attention was drawn to a large gathering of children and their families in the town’s plaza. A festival was about to begin and that meant just one thing…FUN!
We learn they are celebrating the summer solstice through song and dance, a time honored tradition among the Quichua.
Forming a large circle in the town square, the children gathered and took their places. Laughing and giggling, little girls held hands while boys jockeyed for position. Adults mingled and joined in with guitars.
Some of the boys wore llama or leather chaps, which, in many cases didn’t fit because they were probably handed down from brother to brother, cousin to cousin. A few carried whips. Superman and his buddies obviously weren’t going to be left out of this huge celebration just because they didn’t don their traditional clothing. Their energy was contagious.
Young boys beat on crude drums while others blew wooden flutes. Stomping feet was the next best thing to creating noise.
Girls were dressed in traditional black wool skirts, embroidered blouses and wool shawls. They looked like miniature replicas of their mothers including wearing strands of golden jewelry around their neck. Several girls held live chickens above their heads which was said to bring good luck and prosperity to their families.
The children’s laughter, the boy’s shrill whistling, especially from Superman, and the foot stomping tempted me to join in. Instead, I watched, completely mesmerized. Proudly they danced in front of their parents and us touristas who were privileged to witness this event, except for one old timer who apparently slept through it.
Aromas from sidewalk food vendors permeated the air and yet I could not take my eyes off these kids.
And the shops filled with leather goods would have to wait.
For more great travel photos check out Ron Mayhew Photography