El Pase del Niño
“Without a doubt, the Christmas tradition in Cuenca that most attracts the attention of visitors is the famous “El Pase del Niño Viajero/ Passenger Child Pass”. An image of the Child God who was blessed by Pope John XXIII during a pilgrimage carried out by one of his last owners is known by this name. Upon his return to Cuenca, the enthusiastic people gave this famous sculpture the title of “Traveling Child”, and since then he is worshiped with great pomp on Christmas Eve, in the great procession or “pass” in which you can see all the typical elements of the celebration: colorful and countless floats, popular bands that perform songs dedicated to the Child, peasant musical ensembles, children dressed as biblical characters, pastors, gypsies, jíbaros, saraguros, otavalos, and mayorales.
All preparations are made well in advance by “priostes” and maintainers. The first is the people who sponsor the event socially and economically and are chosen each year, according to circumstances that may vary from town to town. Many decide to do so voluntarily, while others are appointed by the previous “prioste” or by the community. The maintainers, on the other hand, are people who are responsible for all aspects related to the Pass and are responsible for keeping the tradition alive, so that long periods last in their function.”