El Wiki

The Wiki from Christmas indigenous folklore.

Wikis are mythical characters of Christmas and Three Kings Day (January 6) in the Saraguro ethnic group. They are known as benevolent demons or toys for the Baby Jesus. They are in charge of putting the touch of humor and sarcasm at these parties.

The marcataita and the marcamama (prioste spouses) choose four wikis who will accompany them at Christmas and Three Kings Day. In Saraguro, the indigenous people venerate four images of Children (three from the central church and one from San Francisco) and that is why there are the same number of priostes with their own toys (wikis, ajas, paileros, bears...).

At noon on Wednesday, January 6, the wikis will come together in the central church for the Eucharist, which commemorates the arrival of the three Wise Men at the site where Jesus was born, guided by a star. There will be joint dances.


The wiki clothing is striking. It has a kind of overalls of red, fuchsia, purple, yellow, green, orange and blue colors... related to the Andean chacana. They also wear a mask decorated with signs and lines and two horns with pins, to protect their identity and prevent someone from taking them.

In addition, a long tail that is collected between the legs and the waist, and that is released to dance to the rhythm of the chaspishca or with the drums. As a complement, a wide leather belt at the waist, rubber boots and a doll from a wiki, 20 centimeters long, which they carry in their hand.


The latter has chili on his face. As part of the jokes, they take them to the mouth of one of those present, while they dance. It is a way of attracting attention and grace, says Polivio Gualán, who was a wiki for three consecutive years. "It is an honor to represent that character, because he brings joy."

Being a wiki is not easy. They prepare their dances and the requirements established by the protocol of this celebration two months in advance. Their dance consists of jumping and running around shouting "wiki, wiki!", to the sound of drums and Andean music. They embrace and surprise those who accompany the marcataita and the marcamama.

They carry out this work during the dances, either in the house of the priostes of the Child Jesus or in the processions. In the house where the party is held, they are also part of the 'taitas servicios', who are the ones who distribute the chicha and make sure that everyone present is served the food they offer. In addition, that there is music and that they dance.

Because of this set of tasks entrusted to the wiki, everyone pays attention to what he requests. He is the most respected character. They relate him to the goodness and evil of the human being, mainly when he makes jokes -to a certain extent- heavy on those present-, says the indigenous Saraguro Luis González.

For Polivio Gualán, being a wiki is an honor because it represents the figure of a strong, risky, cheerful man infected with good humor. In general, within the Saraguro culture, they know each other and assume this role after having passed through other characters such as bears, paileros, ajas, among others.