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South America

crackers for jesus

ECUADOR | Thursday, 4 May 2006 | Views [510] | Comments [1]

Last night I found myself sitting on a grassy knoll, looking out over the mist, keeping an anxious eye on the shrapnel raining down all around me. Welcome to cracker night, Ecuador style…

I guess there were about a thousand people there, in a dark and usually quiet neighbourhood on the outskirts of Ibarra. They'd created a carnival atmosphere, with a brass band and some entrepreneurial types barbequing skewers of processed meat and potatoes. Families sat together on the wet grass, drinking box wine and giving it to their kids when they made too much noise.

Some boys made a cluster of big bonfires under the hill we were sitting on, and whenever the blaze subsided someone would slosh petrol on the pile of branches. Then the boys would throw  firecrackers in the flames, and they'd explode towards where we were on the hill.

And that was just waiting for the show to start. The official crackers were the most elaborate I've ever seen. There were five bamboo structures, about ten metres tall, that spun in the ground like a Hills Hoist. The poles were lit painstakingly, one by one, by men wearing raincoats to protect them from the sparks, and lasted about half an hour each. The fireworks made pictures- a cross, a church, jesus, two men kicking a football... things close to Ecuadorians' hearts.

The most exciting part was at the climax of each one, they spewed rockets and coloured sparks  into the masses. I was terrified, but the locals only responded with coos of "¡que lind-o!", or when they got hit by the carnage, "¡que fe-o!".

Tags: oh ecuador...

Comments

1

Definitely sounds more exciting than "Territory Day" fireworks on here soon ...

  Jill Jun 12, 2006 9:14 PM

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