The Feast of Epiphany – Three Kings Day – is an important celebration in many Catholic countries in Central and South America. This is especially true in Ecuador, where the celebration of the arrival of the three kings also served as an opportunity to reenact traditional Ecuadorian folk themes, many of which originated to mock Spanish colonialism. Rather than a religious event, the celebration of the arrival of the three kings becomes a popular folk festival.
I was fortunate to be in Quito, Ecuador, in 2006 and accidently happen upon that year’s festivities.
Along with the three kings (tossing candy to the crowd), there were marching bands and street performers of all types. Periodically the parade would come to a halt and a scene – most of which were inscrutable to me, but clearly had a social and political message – was acted out.
It was colorful, chaotic, and a bit dizzying, but a great way to join in the festivities.