Guinea Pig and Ecuador

I stumbled upon this cuy picture and couldn’t resist to smile. Cuyyyyte!

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Do you know that cuy (kwee) also known as guinea pig or cavy are typical found in the Andean region in South America? Its name comes from the sound they make: cuy, cuy, cuy.

Do you know that their owners make them wear elaborate costumes for cuy pageants where the chubbiest ones have more chances to win?  I know you are dying to know who won the title as the “Cuy Festival queen” this year, please go here to meet the beauty. But you can also click here and learned about the promising future for all the participants of the pageant, including the winner!

Cuys are typically fried or roasted and served with rice, corn and chicha (an Inca beverage derived from maize), some friends claimed that it tastes like chicken and is very delicious. The Inca empire and many of their descendants ate guinea pigs as a sign of status, it was a delicacy. Inca people consumed them in ritual occasions and used them as a sacrifice to their gods.

Long time ago, I think I had a close encounter of a third kind with a guinea pig when his itty-bitty dark eyes stared long at me 😉 My soul promised this cuy that my mouth would never ever touch his rodent family. I am proud to tell the world that I have rebelled against my ancestors traditions and I have never tasted cuy, I just can’t eat those cuyties, they are too cuyte to be eaten. Period.

Today, guinea pigs still play an important cultural role in some indigenous areas, hence the pageants. There is a Peruvian colonial cathedral that shows a painting of the Last Supper where a guinea pig is the main dish. Because guinea pigs reproduce very quickly, that fact is frequently referenced in metaphors resulting in the popular epithet “ni que fuera cuy” meaning that this person is not having lots of kids. 

Oh, and just for the record, guinea pigs do not come from Guinea, nor are they from the pig family, they are actually close related to rats, but way cuyyyter.

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