People in the Republic of Ecuador celebrate the Fiesta de la Virgen del Cisne today in the city of Loja in the mountains of southern Ecuador. Sadly, I cannot make it there but, if she got there in time, our daughter Kilina will.
The city of Loja is one of the oldest cities in Ecuador and was established in its current location in 1548. It was the first city in Ecuador that made use of electricity in 1897; quite an achievement considering the time.
Loja has an estimated population of 150,000 people and is particularly proud of its music conservatory. It is said that the best, most talented musicians in Ecuador originate from Loja. Some people call Loja the cultural and musical capital of this Andean nation.
The best known attraction to visit Loja for, however, is the festival of the Virgen del Cisne. What’s that all about?
North west of the city of Loja you’ll find the place of El Cisne, a small town in Ecuador’s Southern Andes, the site of the venerated shrine of the Virgen María.
Every August there is a three day pilgrimage of faithful Ecuadorians carrying the statue of La Virgen del Cisne from El Cisne to Loja with fiestas in every town along the way. The statue of the Virgin Mary is carried 74 kms to the cathedral of Loja where it is the focus of one of the oldest festivals in Latin America on September 8th, i. e. today.
The venerated statue remains in the cathedral of Loja until November 3rd and is then returned to El Cisne for the remainder of the year.
We expect our daughter to be back long before that.