Cacerolazo in Loja - making noise to protest and support

Cacerolazo pot banging in Loja Ecuador
Pot banging. Image by Francis Bourgouin (1)
9 pm arrives and suddenly the air is filled with the sound of whistles, horns, banging pots and pans, exploding fireworks, and shouts and applause. From rooftops, balconies and open windows comes the clatter. Welcome to Loja in lockdown.

In March of 2020 Ecuador's government responded to the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) by issuing orders for people to self-quarantine at home. Scientists tell us that breaking the cycle of transmission is the best way to stop the disease until a vaccine or medication can be developed. "Social isolation" is the new phrase to describe this action. But we Lojanos are a friendly people, a socially-oriented people, and we will find ways to communicate no matter what.

Enter the cacerolazo, which translates as casserole. Making noise by banging on pots (used for making casseroles) is an old form of protest. Indeed, the first recored instance of its use dates to the 1830s in France. And Ecuadorians have used pot banging to express themselves as recently as the national strike of October, 2019.

Now, a only a few months later, people are making noise again - but not in protest this time. Now they are communicating their support and thanks to the workers who are on the "frontlines" fighting to keep everyone healthy. Thanks to the doctors and nurses, to the sanitation workers, the police, those who provide medicines and food, the scientists, and to everyone who is helping to knock down the virus on our behalf.

At a time when we have nightly curfew as well as restricted movement during the day, when most businesses are shuttered and schools and playgrounds are closed, the people of Loja understand the risks faced by so many and we will not let them go without appreciation for their efforts.

Probably some day in the future we will bang pots again in protest but for now - know that we make noise as an act of love for our Lojano neighbors. May they, and we, be blessed and the virus soon become a thing of the past. Such is life in Loja.

(1) Image by Francis Bourgouin - Flickr: Manifestations casseroliennes à Rosemont !, CC BY-SA 2.0,


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