The Most Complete Guide of Ecuador

Pase del Niño: A cultural icon in Riobamba

Text: The Municipal GAD of Riobamba.

The commemoration of “El Pase del Niño” or “The Passing of the Child” in Riobamba is part of its collective memory. This tradition, expressed during decades and passed on from generation to generation has become unique and irreplaceable.  

With the declaration of El Pase del Niño has Intangible Cultural Heritage of the canton, we are the first city to recognize its heritage.

This religious manifestation has, as its main objective, to honor Jesus with ceremonies such as the tradition of pesebres, live works of art (people dress up in representation of the sacred family), novenas and eucaristías. All part of the essence of Riobamba;s demonstration of faith. 


The Curiquingue represents the Andean Bird that carries that same name. Dancers imitate the movements of the curiquingue and honor the Sun God. Curiquigues wear silk, and big colorful wings, with a type of bonnet that resembles a small peak. 

Yaruquíes Dancer 

Yaruquíes are male characters of pre hispanic origins. They worship the gods of the Sun and Moon and symbolize the syncretism of the Catholic faith with the indigenous beliefs of the area. Their dance represents the movement of the Earth and they wear white clothes with embroidery, multicolored laces and black shiny shoes. 

 Traditional Clown 

This character represents the joy and humor of this traditional celebration. Clowns are in charge of opening the desfile and guarding the Child. With a paper mache mask, colorful suit, funny sleeves, bombed pants and a bonnet as a hat, the clown playfully mixes with the rest of the attendees.  


 Vasallos symbolize the kings service court, and, as ambassadors, accompany the procession dancing along with the other characters. They wear a shirt with light colors, black pants, white gloves, a black belt, a pink face, sun glasses, a hat, a sword or machete, an aluminium glass and a stick that is impaled with a cuy, bread and an apple.  


Diablo Sonajero 

The devil originated as an expression of rebellion. When Spaniards came and taught that the image of God represented good, the serving class began to dress up as devils to identify with the character. Devils use elegant blue and red jackets, a face mask painted red, a cabuya trenza and a sonaja. Tradition says that whoever plays the Diablo Sonajero, must do so for 7 consecutive years. 

Sacha Runa 

Sacha Runa means man of the jungle. This character’s origin comes from a story about a man who lived in the forest and screamed to scare people away. Sacha Runa wears old clothes with musk sewn to the fabric, a wig threaded with Cabuya, a terrifying mask, and a whip.  

The Dogs 

The guardians of the child’s physical integrity. Just like the clown, the dogs open the way for the procession and in a mischievous manner, interact with the spectators.  The dogs wear a suit made out of cabuya, combining different colored cloth, a cabuya rope around their waist and a colorful handkerchief on their heads. Their faces are covered with a dog mask.


Comments (1):

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: