Saturday, November 7, 2015

XLV. Virgen del Rosario, 2015

Virgin of the Rosary

For the entire month of October the effigy of the little Virgin, who normally resides in the old chapel by our plaza, goes walkabout among the other churches in our small town. Every morning for the past four weeks these o'dark hundred processions have been announced by tolling bells and exploding sky rockets. That all ended last Saturday with a BIG parade that took her back home where she'll remain for the next eleven months. This tradition has been going on for--literally--hundreds of years. This time it was witnessed--wide-eyed--by me and our daughters who were here for the first day of a week-long visit.

Papales piscados--"chopped paper" flags fly from the old chapel's fence to belfry to welcome the Virgin back home.

Each barrio in our town had its own Catholic-themed float in the big parade that filed past our balcony (far left) for half an hour on its way to a chapel at Seis Esquinas--"Six Corners" neighborhood--and then to the Parish Church for an outdoor mass.

A troupe of fantastically costumed dancers preceded each one of the dozen or so religious floats. The contrast between the immobile "religious" actors and wildly gyrating "pagans" was striking.

These cute little girlfriends had their own place in the parade.

The little Virgin herself ended the parade, here solemnly carried past Bar El Camaleon.

Castillos--"castles"--are colored fireworks that spin from scaffolding. Here they are in front of the chapel, obscured by smoke. They are lit by their daredevil engineers who often climb the structures to reach the fuse. This was the final stage in the day's celebration. Moments later we went inside the chapel and there was the little Virgin mounted high above the altar. She'll stay there until next October when she goes around the town again, just as she has for--literally--hundreds of years.

Safety considerations are pretty non-existent here. Sparks showered down from the castillos on young boys darting among them with pieces of cardboard over their heads. Meanwhile, nearby, a band blared loudly from a strobe-lit stage.

On a neighboring side street, an empty carnival ride awaits youngsters on their way home from the festivities at the plaza.

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