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Ecuador Christmas in the Andes is a wonderful celebration.

Christmas is a highly religious affair in the Ecuador villages like Cotacachi.   This celebration has been much more commercialized in the bigger cities of Ecuador, but in the villages there is a stronger tie to the traditions and the old ways.

The nativity scene is on display at the city hall.

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The link between the church and state remain strong so there is no problem with Christmas decorations in a public place.

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Our Super Thinking plus Spanish teacher Ernest Neuman is in Cotacachi for a couple of weeks performing his piano magic at La Mirage Garden Hotel & Spa and he reports on Christmas in Cotacachi.

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Ernest Neuman

Navidad Nativity Procession in Cotacachi

Tonight’s procession for Navidad includes some versions of the crib carrying the Baby Jesus.

Here the Angels are preceding the Navidad Procession.

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The angels are  followed by mothers carrying a decorated crib with Baby Jesus.

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Little girls throw petals of fresh roses onto the crib as the procession progresses and makes its way to the main Iglesia Santa Ana de Cotacachi.
The procession is preceded by men lighting off fireworks as it makes its way down a main street near Inn Land of the Sun to Cotacachi’s church on the plaza. 

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While Cotacachi’s main church is a beautiful heritage building,  it is not a cathedral since the seat of the diocese with the bishop is in Ibarra where one of its many churches is indeed a cathedral church.

Nonetheless, this building is beautiful, recently restored and a centre of historical pride for the citizens of Cotacachi.

In this photo, the children are dressed in costumes representing figures in typical Nativity Scenes as well as Angels. The procession is accompanied with many people singing carols and carrying lighted candles.

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This is truly joyous and makes everyone feel part of the festive Holiday spirit. These processions continue often nightly through the New Year.

The processions end in front of Cotacachi’s main church where several other fireworks are lit before the procession enters the church for the beginning of mass.

Ernest

Cotacachi enjoys this…

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season.

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Homes and businesses are decorated and…

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everyone participates…  young and…

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old.

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old.  Ernest has captured the wonderful procession and Christmas spirit in the Andes!

A reader just sent this note and these photos.

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Happy Holidays at Inn Land of the Sun.

Gary and Merri,   As always I enjoyed my stay at Inn Land of the Sun last week when I went down to view the construction on our house in El Encanto which is going well.  We should be completed to stay a few months in the new house around April.  

I have attached two pictures I made of the Christmas tree at the hotel.  The staff was busy decorating and having a lot of fun with the tree.  Happy Holidays,

Jean Marie, Stephen, Bonnie, Franklin and the entire Ateam Ecuador send their best wishes for happy holidays to you!

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Happy Holidays from North Carolina as well.

This season is a profound holiday at our North Carolina farm…  so different from Ecuador where the sun sets and rises at almost exactly the same time every day.

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At Christmas ot grows dark early but the sunrise is often welcomed by cold brightness, wrapped in a cozy, white blanket as well.

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The year does not look like Christmas will be white here, but winter sculpts a glorious crystal scene in the cold back yard. What a gift and…

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a holiday walk can bring such wonderful images…

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reminding us that there is light at the end of every tunnel.

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Once again the view will be clear.

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The darkest, shortest day is also the beginning of the light.

This is why we love this time of year, not chasing the trees and lights and decorations and presents, but seeking the deepest meaning of the spirit of the Christmas message that encompasses the world. The end is always the birth of dawn.

Lester, Wesley, Brian  and all our help in North Carolina, who help keep the farm wonderful for you to visit, send their best wishes for a glorious season from the Blue Ridge as they mourn the passing of Dempsey who added a special love and light to this wonderful land.

Merri and I are missing snow today but feel the joy of this time of year and hope that in this solstice season you receive the gift of inner silence and joy. We wish wish this for each of you, our friends… be filled with inner joy and peace.

Here are three gifts for you on this special day from three wonderful places around the world!

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This year we are celebrating Christmas at our Florida home and Merri and I have organized these three gifts for you.

How magnificent though that this celebration of light and positive energy so near the darkest, shortest day is celebrated around the world.

At Christmas we celebrate the dawn… the beginning… because somewhere the sun always shines.

So our first gift is images of the dawn.

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Here is our dawn in Florida.

The dawn in these North Carolina mountains is glorious too.

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As is the dawn in Ecuador.  Here is one of our views from our suite at  the “Inn Land of the Sun” (formerly Meson de las Flores).

Dawn in…

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Cotacachi.

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This the day of birth… of dawn and all things positive… peace… inner silence… calm… positive hopes of goodness for all… and the knowledge that no time is ever too late…. because the darkest hour and deepest silence are the seeds for the greatest music and brightest light.

Here is our second Christmas gift to you, a quote from The Winter Solstice, the Sacred Traditions of Christmas by John Mathews.

There is a moment of silence that occurs every year, somewhere between the dawn of Christmas and the setting sun on Christmas day itself. – a moment we have all experienced once in our lives, maybe more than once. It can silence a great city, London or New York , and it can bring stillness to our hearts, whoever and wherever we may be. It offers the promise of new beginnings, of the clean slate of a new year, and it incorporates the breathless expectancy of Christmas night itself, when a familiar figure enters our lives and changes them briefly. It is such a moment that lies at the heart of the mid winter solstice and it is the celebration of this that this book is written.”

Our third gift to you  today is one of  better health… the backbone of a report on “How to Maintain a Healthy Weight” and much more.

This holiday season can be a time when weight gain stacks up as an unwanted holiday present.

This report shows three utterly simple ways to control weight and right now… it is yours for the reading.   Enjoy the benefits of better weight control and more energy from these really simple but incredibly powerful ideas on this special holiday.

Click for your free report here.

Derek and our Super Thinking teachers send you their best wishes for harmony, joy and happiness on this special day.

Merri, David and I send our special best wishes to you and thank you for inviting us into your holiday home.

P.S.  A reader sent this blessed gift to Merri, me and the rose growers in Ecuador.

Merri and Gary,  Merry Christmas, I am in tears here looking at my wife’s Ecuadorian Roses. I thank you for presenting this opportunity to help those of LOTS and also to bring these roses to my wife. We are close to destitute these days from circumstances and we will have a very spartan Christmas, however these well received roses have brought a peaceful beauty and scents of love into our house. I thank the Ecuadorians for their care with these roses and am grateful to you for facilitating a major portion of my purchase to help those there in need more  than me.  Again thank you Gary & Merri, for all the good you do.  “May the wind be always at your back and may the Lord hold you in the hollow of his hand”  Merry Christmas, with love and appreciation”

Merri and I thank all of you for ordering roses in the holidays.  We have been able to help provide scholarships… rebuild schools and assist Ecuadorians in starting micro businesses with your rose orders.

Merry Christmas and thanks again for sharing 2011 with us.

Gary