Corpus Christi in Pujilí

Pujilí, Ecuador – June 2012

A dancer (danzante), holding flowers, takes part in the religious parade within the Corpus Christi festival in Pujilí, Ecuador. Every year in June, thousands of people gather in a small town of Pujilí, high in the Andes, to celebrate the Catholic feast of Corpus Christi. Introduced originally during the Spanish conquest of South America, this celebration merges Catholic rituals of Holy Communion with the traditional Andean harvest and sun festivities (Inti, the Inca sun god). Women dancers perform wearing brightly colored costumes while men dancers wear chest ornaments and heavy elaborate headdresses adorned with mirrors, jewelry, or natural items (shells). Being a dancer in the Corpus Christi ceremonial parade (El Danzante) is considered an honour and a privilege by the indigenous people in Ecuador.

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