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.
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.
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.
Check out the video below where Steve wins big money playing the “where will the Guinea Pig run game”
Steve’s big win!