Fiesta: Day 2

Day two of my Pueblo‘s fair “El Dulce Nombre de Jesús”. There were a couple more dances, though none really as strange as the ones yesterday. One looked like musical chairs, and in these chairs sat children dressed like either a cowboys or different jungle animals. There was an MC in the middle telling jokes, and everybody was laughing, but I couldn’t understand a thing because he was wearing a mask and mumbling. Another dance consisted of children dressed up in costume and elaborate masks (of course) putting on a type of play complete with sword fighting, a princess, and death. I didn’t really understand the message of that either. Then there was another “baile de los abuelitos” but this time adult men dressed up as old ladies dancing a choreographed dance in the street. There was also again the Looney Toons dance with the giant heads.

At night though, the crazy stuff started. Once it got dark, some guy ran up and down my crowded street with a large cardboard thing on his head. Affixed to this cardboard were a lot of fireworks and firecrackers, which he or someone else would light, and subsequently frighten all the people in the crowd and make them sprint away for their safety. He also started firecrackers in the street and basically ran around like a crazy person. But, it was all part of the fair. A little later there was a procession down this same street with another float depicting Jesus’ birth. At the end of the float route was a wooded edifice that was to be lit on fire. Or so I was told. It wasn’t so much of a fire as it was a stand to hold mountainous amounts of fireworks. I’m amazed how many people are willing to get so close to that stuff, and I’m starting to get used to the fact that there really aren’t many or any regulations regarding safety and all that in this type of small town.

After the fireworks I wandered back to the town’s central park, met up with a couple people from our neighboring town, and watched the marimba orchestra play on this huge temporary stage that was built especially for this fair. It was at least a 12 piece band, with four on the marimba, the national instrument of Guatemala, a few on horned instruments, four singers/dancers, some people on percussion, and I bet a couple more on strings and other stuff I couldn’t see due to the crowd. Everybody showed up for this. Nobody danced. At least not until the very end, and even then very very little, but it was fun anyway.

Also tonight was the drunken riders on drunken horses, and it was much more apparent today than yesterday how smashed the riders really were. The streets were so packed, but every time the horses galloped by people sprinted and shoved to get out of the way because the horses were obviously out of control. I never actually though I was in any bodily harm tonight, but I do know what it feels like to be charged at by a horse and it’s not fun.

I have already made my decision that I must return next year for this fair…and the year after. It was so interesting to see the time and effort put into this weekend, considering my experience with the people of this town and their lifestyles and capabilities. It takes a lot of my brainpower to try and rationalize exactly why they do what they do, but I think it comes down to: these people understand that the point of living is to be enjoy it. And putting their money into elaborate parties every once in a while is certainly a great way to enjoy oneself, hang out with friends, eat good food, and be incredibly well-entertained for a weekend. And for the rest of my life because I took some great pictures that will always put a smile on my face whenever I look at them.

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