Traditional festivals

1. Holy Innocents

It is a religious celebration with a strictly religious beginning.
Nevertheless with the pass of time several elements have been introduced and added. In Cuenca the celebration of Santos Inocentes brings up special interest from the people who celebrate it. On January 6th of
each year, thousands of people go out on the streets dressed up in customs. In the evening of the same day troupes (groups of popular artists) walk along the streets in an endless parade full of color, representing outstanding characters of the previous year.

There are clubs in charge of preparing this event to award the most original and creative group.

2. Carnival in Cuenca

Carnival in Cuenca is synonym of fun and entertainment; a true party full of games, music, tradition and good food. This beautiful city crossed by four rivers is the perfect scenario for relaxation and entertainment during holidays like this. One of the main activities in the city is a popular event called “Thursday of Godfather and
Godmother” one of the most authentic traditions of Cuenca. 

It used to be a ceremony performed two weeks before Carnival (on a Thursday) to select the godfathers and godmothers of the celebration depending on the degree of relationship or friendship among people and invite them to spend the days of Carnival with

the host family. Nowadays, this celebration is the milestone for the beginning of Carnival and it is a public festivity with the participation of the authorities of the city on the Thursday before Carnival.

3. Holy Week

Holy Week is one of the main festivities of the Christian calendar and the most respected by one people of Cuenca. This celebration begins with Palm Sunday, the visitation to the seven churches on Holy Thursday and the procession of the Passion of Christ on Holy Friday starting at 19h30. This procession starts at the San Blas Park and has the participation of thousands of devote people who walk along several areas of the city.

In the rural parishes of Cuenca the same procession is recreated allowing tourists to appreciate a true manifestation of religious devotion with the remarkable characteristic that many men are willing to follow on Christ’s steps and carry heavy crosses along the way. Also Holy Week is a great chance to perform religious tourism in Cuenca due to the great variety of handcrafts and typical food available only during this time of the year for the people who attend religious acts.

4. Fundación de Cuenca

Spanish Founding of Cuenca
Established on April 12th, 1557. At present time it is remembered with a calendar of diverse activities showing socio-cultural and artistic programs.

5. Corpus Christi

This celebration begins the following Thursday after Whitsun. This is a religious and popular celebration of the Body of Christ. The festivities take place at the Calderon Park; each day a different person called “prioste” is responsible for all the expenses, including fireworks, “burn” of castles, paper balloons, typical bands, popular games, raffles, roulette, etc.

The most traditional part of this celebration is the sampling of different types of “Corpus Sweets” including all kinds of traditional homemade sweets.

6. Independence of Cuenca

Established on November 3rd, 1820. From November 1st to 4th commemorative acts of as civic, military, cultural and folklore character are held.

7. Baby Jesus Parade

the house of the organizer in the case of the minor parades. When

8. Old Year Celebration

The 31st of December is the day of the Old Year, when different organizations prepare stages on which the main character is a rag doll made out of paper, cardboard, cloth many firecrackers and placed inside it. The figure has a mask representing a character who has been the object of criticism and who symbolizes the year which is ending. In the neighborhoods “widows” dressed in black are found, who ask the public for contributions to pay for the funeral expenses.

After reading the Last Will and Testament of the
Old Year, which is filled with criticisms to neighbors, institutions or the government, leaving them inheritances or words of advice, the figure is burned at midnight in the midst of firecrackers, music and noisy frolicking to welcome the New Year.

Traditional festivals
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