Happy First Day of Spring!

"In my small village in Ukraine, The Meeting of Spring is the single largest public celebration held each year around March 1st. Each Street creates a float-type submission and everyone who lives on the street passes through the town before doing a skit on the main stage. In these photos, I’m with my host mother Laryssa and her street neighbors who were dressed as aliens!"

- Peace Corps Youth Development Volunteer Jessie Park

(Source: collection.peacecorps.gov)

Ukraine Eastern Europe spring First Day of Spring culture cultural exchange Peace Corps Volunteers host family host community celebrations costumes fun

sarahreichle:

Things I’ve Learned in Ecuador: #6 You Can Never Have Too Many Parades

About two months ago were the fiestas de la parroquia in my town of Tonchigüe. There was a rodeo, the election of the reina (more to come about that!), bailes and last but certainly not least were the desfiles. Parades are seriously underrated in the United States. Yes, we have Memorial Day parades, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade, and the infamous St. Patrick’s Day parade in Scranton… but here in Ecuador they really, really, REALLY love parades. Just a rough estimate but I’m pretty sure I’ve seen about twenty desfiles since arriving here in Ecuador which averages out to about two parades per month.

All the local schools participate in the desfiles and there’s lots of marching, baton twirling, and military-looking outfits, but by far the most important and distinguishing characteristic of the desfiles are the drums. I’ve only ever seen about 4 different instruments in the parades: drums, xylophones, trumpets… and more drums. There are about 15 drums to every one other instrument and they can be heard for miles around. There are big drums, small drums, medium sized drums, any kind of drum you could imagine. Goldilocks would certainly not have a problem finding her dream drum here in Ecuador during fiesta time. The drumming is always accompanied by some dancing with batons, inappropriately short skirts and sometimes berets.

There are also the costume desfiles. The marching of the schools I can somewhat understand but these costume parades still blow my mind. I’ve asked around town and there seems to be no rhyme or reason to how or what they decide to dress up as. I’ve seen children in Scream masks, dressed up as gangsters and Native American Indians. There are always all different sorts of animal costumes, traditional costumes from different regions of Ecuador but there’s also sometimes children wearing huge cardboard boxes painted like aquariums and some dressed as migrant farm workers. My favorite was the high schoolers walking around on huge stilts and dressed up in bright, multi-colored clown-looking costumes. Again, I have no idea why and I don’t think anyone else does either.

The best/worst part of these desfiles is that they last about 1 and a half hours minimum. I waited for about two hours in Atacames during one parade to see the kids from my high school and there were still about 15-20 schools yet to pass after them! And since all the towns in my area only have one major road, it’s always fun to see the buses lined up and stuck behind the desfiles for hours at a time. Luckily, I haven’t been stuck in a bus behind a parade yet!

Please someone come visit me! I can almost guarantee you will see at least one desfile!

Ecuador reblogs Peace Corps Volunteer parades celebrations culture cultural exchange

"My family in the U.S. sent me a care package full of sugar cookies, sprinkles, and icing so I invited my friends and neighbors in Ecuador over to decorate some traditional American Christmas cookies. This photo shows my 8-year-old host niece Roxana enjoying sharing in one of my own family traditions."  - Peace Corps Environment Volunteer	Laurel Smith

"My family in the U.S. sent me a care package full of sugar cookies, sprinkles, and icing so I invited my friends and neighbors in Ecuador over to decorate some traditional American Christmas cookies. This photo shows my 8-year-old host niece Roxana enjoying sharing in one of my own family traditions." - Peace Corps Environment Volunteer Laurel Smith

Christmas Ecuador Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteer celebrations cookies environment holidays host family Peace Corps Digital Library


"I arrived at site in mid December and was invited to an office Christmas Lunch. I accepted the invitation but the "lunch" was really a dinner and a huge party at a local restaurant. The night included dancing and singing by all. As I know now as typical in Macedonia - a group of musicians showed up playing various instruments and I captured this photo with the musicians and one of my colleagues at the city hall." - Peace Corps Community Development  Karen Schaan

"I arrived at site in mid December and was invited to an office Christmas Lunch. I accepted the invitation but the "lunch" was really a dinner and a huge party at a local restaurant. The night included dancing and singing by all. As I know now as typical in Macedonia - a group of musicians showed up playing various instruments and I captured this photo with the musicians and one of my colleagues at the city hall." - Peace Corps Community Development  Karen Schaan

Christmas holidays celebrations party Macedonia Peace Corps Peace Corps Volunteer Peace Corps Digital Library host country nationals party


I took this photo on July 20th, 2008, in  Concepcion del Sur, Santa Barbara, Honduras. This date marks the Dia de  Lempira in Honduras, when the nation celebrates their cultural history  and honors Chief Lempira, a Lencan warrior who unified hundreds of  Honduran tribes in opposition against the Spanish conquerors. Many towns  celebrate by holding a Day of Culture, where traditional food and dance  are on display. This picture depicts a competition where school  children used materials of local significance to make elaborate  costumes. This girl is wearing naturally dyed corn husk jewelry, and  carries a basket of a local variety of banana.

 Peace Corps Health Volunteer Andrea Hafar 

I took this photo on July 20th, 2008, in Concepcion del Sur, Santa Barbara, Honduras. This date marks the Dia de Lempira in Honduras, when the nation celebrates their cultural history and honors Chief Lempira, a Lencan warrior who unified hundreds of Honduran tribes in opposition against the Spanish conquerors. Many towns celebrate by holding a Day of Culture, where traditional food and dance are on display. This picture depicts a competition where school children used materials of local significance to make elaborate costumes. This girl is wearing naturally dyed corn husk jewelry, and carries a basket of a local variety of banana.

Peace Corps Health Volunteer Andrea Hafar 

Concepcion del Sur Dia de Lempira Honduras Lencan Peace Corps Peace Corps Digital Library culture host country national current countries holidays celebrations