Procession in Otovalo, Walking to the Mass


This photograph from Otavalo, Ecuador, shows a procession of residents on their way to mass, all of them wearing hats and ponchos with distinctive stripes, and carrying lit torches on long poles. Otavalo has a population that is largely indigenous, and is famous for its textiles and other handicrafts. The photograph is from the collection of the Columbus Memorial Library of the Organization of American States (OAS), which includes 45,000 photographs illustrative of life and culture in the Americas. Many of the photographs were taken by prominent photographers on OAS missions to member countries. The OAS was established in April 1948 when 21 countries of the western hemisphere adopted the OAS Charter, in which they reaffirmed their commitment to the pursuit of common goals and respect for each other’s sovereignty. Since then, the OAS has expanded to include the countries of the English-speaking Caribbean as well as Canada. The predecessor organization to the OAS was the Pan American Union, founded in 1910, which in turn grew out of the International Union of American Republics, established at the First International Conference of American States in 1889-90.

Last updated: September 22, 2014