Photo Essay

Cucuruchos of the Holy Week, Paying for their sin with blood and pain

Cucuruchos II

It was 12:00 h o'clock in the morning. The sun was on its highest point sending us a 30 - 35 degrees Celsius to the air, and over the asphalt, a temperature so high that it burnt my shoe's sole. But I was lucky to have shoes.

In front of me, thousands of "Cucuruchos", with their feet completely naked, tied to heavy chains and carrying very heavy crosses, started walking along the streets of the old town. This is a long a very painful walk known as the "Procesion de Jesus del Gran Poder".

In the times of the colony, in order to pay for you their sin, the sinners used to stay outside the churches of the old town for days, with the head covered by a long purple cone (Called Cucurucho), suffering the cold rain and heavy sun, with no food and being offended by the people. Not even their relatives use to visit them. They were cold and alone, paying a tribute for their sin.

As the time passed by, the sinners known as Cucuruchos, were asked to walk in the Holy Week along the streets of the old town showing their guilty and sometimes injured by the people from their houses. Today, the Cucuruchos still walk along the streets in the Holy Week, carrying heavy chains tied to their naked feet, the usual purple cone hat and sometimes carrying cactus crosses on their naked back.

But people do not call them words anymore or injury them, but feel respect for their braveness. Sometimes they do not even use the purple hat and they show their faces so that people can see that they are paying for their sins and want to recover their peace of mind. Its a matter of faith, tradition and the search for a new life.

This is a small collection of pictures from a group of around 1200 pictures of the "Parade of the Cucuruchos", a tradition documented from hundreds of years in Ecuador.

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