fiestas of borja

Kayak Ecuador during the Virgin of Quinche Feistas!

November 21st is always an interesting time to be in Borja–our local community and home base of Small World Adventure’s riverside lodge for the past 13 years. This day marks the celebration of the Virgin of Quinche–an interesting figure in both Indigenous and Catholic Ecuadorian faith. The Virgin of Quinche was carved from wood in the 16th century by famed artist Don Diego Robles. While the original virgin does not live in Borja, her likeness has been recreated here and is the centerpiece for one of the bigger parties of the year in our little town.

Steve, while not checking out the Virgin, was ripping it up on Ecuador’s Rivers.

While the Virgin is a Catholic figure, she is rumored to have appeared to the “Oyacachi” Indigenous people of Ecuador in a cave they were hiding out in and had promised to save them from a dangerous bear who had eaten many of their children. These Indigenous people took care of Don Diego’s statue of the Virgin for 15 years until the presiding Bishop ordered it moved to the village of Quinche in 1604 during which time it acquired it’s current name.

Katherine enjoying some of Ecuador’s excellent Geology

Because of the darker color of the Virgin of Quinche’s face, many people believe she herself is Mestizo–blending of the Inca and Spanish heritage. For this reason she is one of few common bonds between today’s Ecuadorian and Indigenous people.

Dave digging in on the Rio Quijos

The Virgin must go through a long walking procession each November (in our valley it’s about a 20 -mile walk). But with lots of walking comes lots of celebrating too! On November 21st the sleepy little town of Borja comes alive with music, dancing, fireworks, and lots of carnival-esque games. Our favorite game was one involving Ecuador’s favorite food–The Cuy (see previous blog).
Check out the video below where Steve wins big money playing the “where will the Guinea Pig run game”

Steve’s big win!

The Gang after a successful run through El Torro. Left to right (Chris, Katherine, Steve, Dave, Larry).

So, bringing us up to date with the Virgin of Quinche…the statue was officially crowned in 1943, and this is when the national holiday was created. And, in 1985 the shrine was a National Sanctuary of Ecuador.

Kim styling the line at “Corner Pocket”

Thanks for a great week Steve, Steve, Katherine, Kim, Dave and Chris!
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