“No school Friday,” announced our Spanish teacher. A holiday to celebrate…how nice! We turned to the web and read up on which holiday it could be. The Battle of Pichincha, marking Quito’s independence from Spain is celebrated on May 24th. As it turns out, this holiday is not really celebrated in Cuenca (as far as we could see).
Our Spanish teacher, Sol, finally solved the mystery for us. On the ninth Thursday after Easter – this year on May 26th – the Catholic celebration of Corpus Christi is celebrated. This is no small, single day holiday in Cuenca but a full 7 days of celebration, known as Septenario.
Many years ago the celebration for Corpus Christi was combined with the indigenous June solstice celebration. Maybe that accounts in part for the gala, long, and very sweet celebration.
Our first night at the festival we took no money with us, but the temptation of all those “deliciosos corpus” (sweets) was too great. We won’t say what we indulged in on the days that followed.