Dear Family and Friends,
Yesterday, I was in Parque Calderon and saw the miliatry band set up directly across from the new cathedral. The band members were milling around and I figured something was about to happen.
I looked across the street and saw that the main entrance to the cathedral was open (which is rare during the week). Not only was it open, there were military guards at the entrance.
I went in through one of the side doors to see what was going on inside the cathedral.
They were having a mass and the cathedral was packed with military people in their dress uniforms.
I went out of the cathedral, crossed the street and waited near the band.
Pretty soon, the mass was over and the military people were coming out.
About this time, the band started playing and it gave me goose bumps.
The big question for me was WHY? Why was this mass and ceremony taking place?
I asked around and found out that today (February 27, 1829) is the day the Battle of Tarqui was won.
What was the Battle of Tarqui you ask?
Well, I will do my best to explain.
Before this battle there was Peru (which consisted of what is now Peru and Bolivia) and the Gran Colombia (which was made up of what is now, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela.) Peru invaded the southen part of what is now Ecuador. The battle took place near Cuenca. The Peruvians came up the long Yunguilla Valley with their cannons and horses....several weeks of marching and pulling uphill. The army of the Gran Colombia (made up of mostly military and volunteers from our local area) were waiting for them and defeated the attack from a mountain top at the top of the valley on February 27, 1829.
The next year, 1830, the Gran Colombia was dissolved and the countries of Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela were created. Also Peru was split into the countries of Peru and Bolivia.
These soldiers were across the street from me. When researching about the Battle of Tarqui, I found out that they are dressed in the uniform that was worn during the battle. Today, you will find military dressed in this uniform defending the presidential palace in Quito.
So, now I know what these uniforms represent and it makes me proud to know that they are still used today as the ceremonial dress.