Celebrating La Fiesta de la Virgen del Carmen in Puerto Quito, Ecuador (Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel)
Sr. Rosemary tells us about the parish celebration:
Our parish Patron here is Our Lady of Mt. Carmel and our parish novena is held yearly for nine days before the feast day (July 16). There is a daily procession walking in different streets of different sections with the Statue of our Lady from 5am to 6am. The Statue is left with a different family during the day. In the evenings another procession brings Our Lady to the church where Mass is celebrated. About 3 days before the feast there were “Pregon” dancers from different cultures and parts of the country presented by different groups. On Sunday, the Mass for the sick from all the different “recintos” of the parish started at 11am. They all received the Anointing of the Sick, so the Mass took many hours. After Mass we had an auction of animals. The sad thing was, the sun was very hot and one pig was tied where there was no shade. When the owner came out, he decided to give it some water because it looked worn out. He brought a bucket of water, gave it some to drink and threw the rest on his body. The poor pig lay down and died peacefully. Some people saw what happened and helped by quickly taking it to the butchery. So it was sold as meat instead of a live animal!
On Monday after the evening Mass there was another very interesting event. Fireworks, set on something constructed with wood, which had the name of our Lady in the middle. They call it the burning of “Castillo” Vaca loca,”
made in form of a cow with big horns. After that was the real disco, each person dancing with his/her own style. Other groups called “Talented” presented different songs for entertainment as well.
On Tuesday, the Feast of Our Lady of Carmel, Mass started at 11a.m., followed by a procession with her statue. Six or eight men carried the huge statue from the church, led by a band with very nice musical instruments playing Marian songs. Hundreds of adults and children followed with some praying, or reflecting, others were singing the same Marian songs that was played by the band, and others just chatting. When we returned to the church, the men who were carrying the statue started moving it with the rhythm played by the band. It was very beautiful because from afar one could think Our Lady was dancing alone. “Què maravillosa”. (How wonderful!) After that around 2.30pm we had a raffle. There were some tickets sold for one dollar, and some premios (prizes), like a Laptop, wardrobe, a bed and a mobile phone. The feast was finished around four. This time the Feast was very colourful, and for the last three days, some people were there tirelessly all day long. You could tell how they love religious events!