Thursday, December 9, 2010

Fiesta de La Virgen de la Concepción - María

Yesterday in the late afternoon we heard loud music and amplified singing that sounded like it was coming from our courtyard, but there was no one in the courtyard.  It started at about 4 PM and then progressively got louder and louder.

It was still going strong at 9 PM, so I went down alone to investigate.  A half a block away and around the corner of our block, the street was blocked off to vehicular traffic and there were about 150 people sitting on folding chairs facing a shrine that had been set up in the street under an awning for La Virgen de la Concepción - María (AKA Virgin Mary).

I stood watching for a few minutes and then a man and woman came up to me and offered first a paper napkin and then a choice of pastries from a large platter.  Even though I had already flossed and  brushed, I thanked them and took a roll.  BTW, I was the only gringo there.  Then I walked deeper into the crowd and sat down on one of the chairs.  A few seconds later, a young woman come up to me with a bowl of hot posole and a spoon, which I took and ate.  Before I could finish it, a man came by serving a hot beverage, probably coffee, but given that I don't drink coffee anymore, I thanked him but refused.  All of this was free.

Then the real fun began!  About six women started to dance in front of the shrine, more as a group rather than as couples.  I figured that if they could dance, I could, too.  They were delighted when I joined them, and they quickly put me in the center of the group.  We were clapping and dancing and I went around the group clapping my hands and then theirs with each of the women.  Picture that I was at least six inches taller than the tallest woman in the group.  Then the women took turns being in the middle of the dance group and each one strutted her stuff.  What fun.

Then, people appeared with baskets, bags, or trays (as in the video"gifts"  below) and started throwing gifts to the assemblage, who scrambled and vied for the gifts as if they were very valuable.  But were they?  They were pieces of wrapped candy, little bags of candies, cheap items that Wal*Mart would be likely to sell:  plastic bowls, cups, collanders, trays, etc.  Nothing that would cost more than $2.  The woman throwing the candy came in with the basket of candy balanced on her head.

It was 10PM and I asked how much onger it would go on and was told that it would end at 10:30, 11:30, or 12:30.  I realized that it was time for me to go back and report to Pattie that we were in for it.  Fortunately, it stopped shortly after 11PM and I could fall asleep. ZZZZZZZZZZZzzzzzzzz z z z