I’m jumping ahead now, to the annual feria (fair) that took place in August, 2018. Since I documented it in three parts last year, I don’t have to explain it all again. This time, I’m giving you some highlights and including a few video clips such as these strolling feria musicians: https://youtu.be/kelw9z-svuA In this clip you can see the musicians with their crew; the costumed dancers; people on the streets; and the motorists stuck behind this parade following closely behind.
The merriment of musicians and dancers continue throughout the week. But one of the first things that starts the feria is a two-day parade of schools. The first day features the schools in town and the second day is for schools from rural areas.
My favorite thing to watch are the palo voladores in the central plaza. They are mesmerizing. There are so many things going on at once in the plaza that one’s head could spin: bands playing, minstrels and marimbas, voladores, bombas blasting, shoes being shined, ice cream vendors selling their delights, and Catholic processions.
Below: Two dancers with a winged Palo Volador (with a scarf).
There are two types of costumes for the flyers, one is a monkey, and the other is an angel, both of which must be legacies of the conquest of the Americas. And here go, as two young Palo Voladores make their descent. Watch at the end as they complete their flights with gratitude for the pole, each other, and the marimba musician. https://youtu.be/WRT6cNodXWg
Another important event was the national competition to name the Princess of the Palo Voladores. Each region chooses one and they all come together for the national competition. Below is a photo of one of the women giving a short talk as part of the event.
There were several Catholic processions, all of which would end in the Cathedral. Mary and other saints would be carried into the church where petitioners could pray at Mary’s feet.
And oh, yes, the carnival!
Even when I go out with friends I tend to drift off by myself to take photographs. Apologies to friends past and future! These two photos are indicative of the melancholy nature I was feeling in the evening while wandering through the carnival. My mind was on my family in the states. I felt something pulling me home. This was in August and I was thinking ahead about the upcoming Peace Corps’ Close of Service (COS) conference for my group of PC Volunteers. I thought a lot about my grandchildren and my mom and how I needed to get home soon. I carried both joy and gratitude for being in Guatemala and sadness for not being at home.
In my next two posts I will write about the completion of my Peace Corps services. I hope that you enjoy these short posts and that they give you an appreciation for the beauty of Guatemala and its people.