The first six days of January bring a local custom in the town of Píllaro, Ecuador, called Diablada de Píllaro. That’s when men dressed as the devil parade through city streets, yelling and teasing onlookers, waiting for an opportunity to feed them chili peppers or alcohol. Other characters in this procession are bailarines, representing rich colonial overseers, and capariches, the lower class workers who sweep the streets ahead of them. It’s all in fun, but the traditional characters are all acting out the evolving story of how Diablada de Píllaro became what it is now.
The city of Píllaro didn’t exist until Spanish colonizers came and exploited workers from the surrounding villages. The rich landowners partied early in January and forced local men to clear the streets. Now those “bouncers” are devils and the surrounding villages send groups to participate in Diablada de Píllaro. The festival isn’t all that well known in the rest of Ecuador, but it is becoming a tourist draw for Píllaro. Read more about Diablada de Píllaro and see some awesome pictures at Atlas Obscura.
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