The Day Before New Year´s Eve

Posted on December 31, 2007 - Filed Under Fun, Guatemala |

Yesterday was the procession of the Virgen here in Guatemala. There is a procession with a statue of the Virgin Mary carried on a huge platform throughout the towns here, with people following it and a band marching behind and playing music. It´s really quite beautiful, but takes FOREVER! They left the church yesterday at 3 pm and didn´t get back in until 4 am.

And our town isn´t exactly what you would call level, being on the side of a volcano, so we´re talking San Francisco style streets, with people shouldering this huge platform . . . it´s crazy. Everyone who isn´t helping with the procession decorates the streets with “alfombras” or carpets of pine needles and flowers. Our street collects money at the beginning of the month and they bought balloons and streamers to hang up and built an arch over the street entrance.

On top of all this, we have heaps of firecrackers and fireworks. People set them off in front of the procession. Plus, there are toros (bulls) . . . men with cages on their heads loaded with firecrackers. They charge at the crowds, with sparks and explosions flying everywhere. Everyone screams and runs away and has a great time. Amazingly, it´s pretty rare for someone to get hurt, even when the streets are really narrow.

We went out to see the procession last night and waited for it at the park. Dorian had a blast just running all over the place and watching all the fireworks. Our park is three levels due to the incline, so we sat safely above the procession and looked down on it. Dante slept through most of it, thank goodness! We also sat and drank “atole”, a thick hot drink. There are tons of different kinds of atoles, rice in chocolate, corn atole, white atole, etc. They are each very different. The white atole is just white sauce (flour and butter and milk) with chili sauce or beans in it. It´s absolutely disgusting! I do like rice in chocolate, though and the corn one is sweet, too. Perfect for sipping on a cold night while you wait for the procession.


For these big fiestas, everyone in town turns out. We sat and chatted with other townspeople while drinking atole and munching on dobladas (crispy, filled turnovers) and tostadas (crispy tortillas with avocado and cabbage on top). It was really nice. Kids were waving sparklers and some adults set off little firecrackers for the kids to enjoy.

We came home around 10 and I went to bed with the boys, but Irving got up again to watch the procession go by our house. I just couldn´t be bothered to get up and go out into the cold again!

The photos here are not mine, they were found on flickr.


One Response to “The Day Before New Year´s Eve”

  1. Jessica K on January 1st, 2008 9:01 am

    How cool. I can’t believe they put firecrackers on a cage on their head! It sounds like a lot of fun, though. Especially being out with basically your whole town. That would never happen where I live.

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