“Corpus Christi”…. I kept hearing about it… 
I knew it was a religious holiday, but I couldn’t find anyone who could really tell me about it.  It’s not commonly celebrated in my province, but I heard that other provinces to the south celebrate it with big fanfare- especially the small town of Pujilí.  So, this year I put it on my calendar and I took the 5-hour Friday night bus trip to Latacunga for the weekend festivities in nearby Pujilí. 

So, what is Corpus Christi?  I finally had to ask Google.  This is what I compiled from several websites:

Literally translated as “The Body of Christ,” Corpus Christi is a day in which Catholics celebrate the presence of the body and blood of Christ.  A Holy Mass is held on the Thursday, exactly two months after the week of Easter.  After mass, it is traditional for the clergyman to take the Eucharist to the streets and the congregations form a procession, praying and singing along the way.  While not an official public holiday, is it celebrated throughout Ecuador, especially in small indigenous mountain towns.  Like many Catholic festivals in Ecuador, Corpus Christi has become a celebration that combines Spanish-Catholicism with Andean culture.  Many communities have small church events while others, like Pujilí, have larger celebrations on the following Saturday.  People come from all over Ecuador to see the fanfare. 

And it did not disappoint.  Ecuadorians love parades, and this was definitely the best parade I have seen.  Music and dance groups from all over Ecuador displayed well-choreographed routines and beautiful traditional clothing to the delight of thousands in the streets.  It was so diverse, so colorful and so fun.  Today’s post is simply a feast for your eyes.  Pay close attention to the variety of hats and the different lengths and styles of embroidery on the women’s skirts.  They give a clue as to where in the country the groups are from.  The tall headdresses are a Pujilí / Corpus Christi tradition.  Enjoy!
This is Melissa, a fellow Peace Corps volunteer from Miami.  She lives and serves in Pujilí
and was dancing in the parade with her school. 

Peace Corps friends, local Ecuadorians, and visitors from the States- 
we all gathered together in Pujilí for this festive celebration. 
Viva Corpus Christi!