Ecuador Cotacachi Inti Raymi


Inti Raymi is a special festival carried out in this plaza, the center of Cotacachi, Ecuador… just a block from our hotel Meson de las Flores.

ecuador-inti-raymi

Here is our Cotacachi hotel.

ecuador-inti-raymi

Here is Cotacachi’s main plaza.

Ecuador’s indigenous population are gentle, sweet, friendly and kind people who are industrious and trustworthy.   However, in Cotacachi for one day of the year, during the second weekend of the Inti Raymi festivities there is an aggressive event that leads to fights and sometimes even death.

Legens dictate that two indigenous communities near Cotacachi, one from La Calera and one from Quiroga have bad blood has existed since Incan times.

The story is that Quiroga had a sacred bull that was stolen by the people of La Calera. They not onlymanaged to steal the bull but killed and ate it!

This is the pretext for what should be ritualistic fights that take place in Cotacachi plaza once a year during the Into Raymi festival.

However part of the legend is that blood must be spilled durng the fight to acquiesce the Gods – otherwise the following year’s harvest will not be good.

The men often wear cowboy chaps made from leather and finished with goat’s hair. The more goat’s hair the better – to lessen the blow as one is kicked by your neighbors – just this one day of the year!”

Here is a shot of the goat hair chaps.

Some years the battle gets carried away and someone dies.

I have read many criticisms about Ecuador’s indigenous people over this…. “so barbaric… so  unsafe!”   “These people should be civilized as we are in the West bicycle helmets, seat belts and all”… I hear.

I shrug this off as I lived for many years in other “civilized” nations… like England in Gloucestershire… where the locals have celebrations based on ancient tradition as well.

Our son Jake just sent this report earlier this week:

Dad,

Me and my mate Fergus went to the cheeserolling today, Here’s a good clip.

I did a quick check on the stats for the day and the result was:

‘This year’s injury toll of 18 was described as “low” by St John Ambulance, and ten of the wounded were not competitors but spectators.

Three cheese-chasers were taken to hospital for treatment – two with suspected spinal injuries and one with a dislocated shoulder. The rest had cuts and bruises.

Six people fainted just watching the event and four other spectators have minor injuries. One of those had fallen out of a tree and was taken slowly down the 100ft slope on a spinal board.’

See the cheeserolling event on BBC here.

Cheers  Jake

A bit of danger and daring might be a good part of the human trial.

I wonder what the real cost of safety and risk elimination might be?

I suspect that the expense is more than the benefit. This is one of the qualities I really enjoy in Ecuador… a little less sanitation… a little more freedom to live as I wish, as a fully informed adult…without so many worries of law suits, rules and regulations.

Gary

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