Throughout the year, each town in Ecuador celebrates Las Fiestas Patronales. A week of fiestas dedicated to that town’s Patron Saint. Last week was Montañita’s turn to celebrate its saint, San Isidro Labrador, and wow, it was fun! The week, filled with eating, drinking, dancing, and having un, started with the choosing of Miss Montañita. Doesn’t she look gorgeous?
The festival really picked up over the weekend. With different bands playing in town, those in attendance were having a great time dancing and enjoying the music. There were also many food vendors, which made it really feel like a huge festival!
After we thought it couldn’t get any crazier or more fun after the weekend, we were introduced to Vaca Loca on Monday night. All of the people in Montañita gathered in the town square in front of the church around 10pm, buzzing with anticipation as the band set the mood from the church’s entrance. First someone holding a pole with fireworks on the end began running around, trying to poke people in the audience. Not dangerous at all right? Well it got even crazier. The crazy cow (hence the name Vaca Loca) is a constructed cow with various fireworks attached to it. The cow is worn by a local person and run through the crowd, just like a raging bull, only this one has fireworks shooting out of its horns! The cow has no discretion, chasing everyone in the crowd. The children love to get as close as they can before sprinting away with joyful screams. Although it seems innocent and fun, there is real danger involved. One firework landed on a roof made of dried palm fronds. Luckily, one of our interns is tall and managed to get the fire off the roof. We don’t really want to think what would have happened if he was not there..
Believe it or not, anyone can be the cow. You only need to ask the event director beforehand. Thus, if you are extra crazy, add being the Vaca Loca to your bucket list!
After all this craziness, there was a huge firework show, which was done in Montañita style. The only recommendation I can give is: don’t stand to close! However, it was a beautiful ending to an impressive night!
In the days leading up, the whole of Montañita could already hear the local school practicing for the parade. Finally on Tuesday, different groups and schools from around the area came to town to play music and enjoy the final parade in Montañita.
It sure was one interesting and fun week, which is worth attending. Montañita’s Fiestas Patronales is definitely something you should go to when in the neighbourhood!