Well... this week is Holy Week! That means a small break from classes and a lot more. What people have told me is that Cuenca used to be SUPER traditional holy week... some families would observe a week of silence, the radio would only play sad music etc. Nowadays it’s less intense, but there are still many traditions. On Holy Thursday, lots of people go to visit la siete iglesias (seven churches) at night to pray. My professor told me that she loves going and that the atmosphere is very “mystical.” It is supposed to represent when Christ was imprisoned and it’s like you’re going to visit Him in the church. (Fun fact: there are way more than 7 churches in Cuenca.. I think there are 50 something cathedrals.)
On Friday, families make fanesca, a soup that has 12 different grains/ingredients to represent the 12 disciples. Generally families make a HUGE batch and have everyone over to eat it. I got a little preview of fanesca on Wednesday because one of the teachers at the escuela in Turi made it for us! Que rica. There is a service of adoration in the afternoon and everything in the city is closed at night. Also, during the whole week all of the images of Jesus/crosses in the Catholic churches are covered by a purple cloth to represent the time that he was dead.
During the weekend there are parades of people carrying crosses, walking barefoot etc in Guayaquil & Quito, but not so much in Cuenca. On Sunday, the purple clothes are taken down and everyone goes to mass to celebrate the Resurrection, much like in the states (only no Easter bunnies or baskets. I told my host family about this tradition and they think it’s super weird!)
Other than that... I have just been working hard at the school, doing lots of homework, and having fun with my friends! This week I celebrated a couple birthdays, went to a play in Spanish, went to my first bailoterpia class (latin dance aerobics), went to my small group, went to an open mic night last night, got rained on a lot (April is the rainiest/coldest month here), and I think that’s about all I have to say! I hope this entry finds all of you well. Happy early Earth Day, Easter, and happy early birthday, Rachel!