Saturday, December 10, 2016

LXXXV. Fiestas Patronal - Una Crónica

Festival for Our Patron Saint - A Chronicle

This boy in the opening day parade is atop a float sponsored
by his barrio.
21 Noviembre—Today, the day after Mexico’s nationwide Revolution Day, is the kickoff for the nine-day annual salute to our village's patron saint, San Andrés. We’re a fun-loving place and to live here happily you have to be prepared for a lot of noise during these fun-loving days and nights…or else do as many gringos do—leave town. This afternoon's opening parade goes from the church out to Seis Esquinas neighborhood, and back again. Tonight is alive with brass and drum bands playing around town and the explosion of random cohetes, or fireworks.

All the rides are set up and ready for nighttime fun.

22 Noviembre—Seven o’clock and night has settled. I was just up on our rooftop mirador watching the sparkling trails of cohetes arcing above the parroquia’s steeple. They explode like a sharp rifle pop that echoes against the montañas with a ripping sound. The kiddie rides are probably running by now, taking up all of Calle Colón just north of the plaza with lots of youthful squeals, plus food and drink vendors. Amplified noise, soon. This afternoon, pick-up trucks brought piles of goods, large vans blocked narrow streets, and trabajadores set up awnings and portable kitchens. 

Wide-eyed merriment in front of a wistful outsider...hope he gets his turn.

23 Noviembre—In the early morning, to honor Sta. Cecilia—patron of musicians—brass and drum bands wandered through the village, playing rousing tunes, amply punctuated by those cohetes.

25 Noviembre—Today is the fourth day of our village's nine-day fiesta patronal for San Andrés. Each day's activities are sponsored by a different community group. The carpenters and construction workers are especially well-organized and funded, so the fireworks and music they provide are known to be louder and longer than those underwritten by others. Most of that noisy action takes place between 7PM and midnight. During the day virtually all the rides and food stands are closed.

Dozens of stands selling everything from lottery cards to
machetes tempt revelers.
27 Noviembre—The sixth day of our village's fiesta patronal began with a hundred or more pre-dawn cohetes, their noise meant to awaken parishioners for 6AM mass. That was followed by a rollicking brass and drum band that passed by our casa about an hour later--"Get your lazy butts out of bed!" Except for more or less hourly rounds of cohetes, Sunday was pretty quiet until night settled and villagers began strolling to the plaza to play those timeless carnival games, ride bumper cars, etc., shop, eat, drink, platicar and listen to music until the 10PM castillos--hand-made firework constructions in front of the parish church, or parroquia

The lowest level of the castillo in the church courtyard has just been lit. The
propulsion of the fireworks sends the display spinning, sometimes in both
directions. Each display lasts only a minute or so, and then a daredevil
handler climbs the infrastructure to light the next, more complicated level.
1 Diciembre—Last night was the final and most festive (if that's possible) of the novenario for San Andrés, our village's patron saint. We have a lot of happy goings-on here, but this is the one we really put our hearts into—a big personal Thank You to our patron for keeping and protecting us.  Until the wee wee hours of the AM, our plaza was packed with joyful and increasingly bleary-eyed celebrants, various kinds of music but always loud, jam-packed dancers, an incredible array of food and unimaginable variety of household goods, plentiful and happily shared drinks, rockets bursting in the clear and cool night air, and the memory of the wild, spinning fireworks display, as always sponsored this last night by the ausentes—those absent ones who have left home and family to better provide for them with money sent back from work in the Estados Unidos. Our older daughter arrived on the Red Eye to Guadalajara this morning, in time to enjoy the evening festividades with her papa.

The castillo finally spent, it's nearly 11PM and time to see what's going on in the plaza, buy a slice of pizza or something more exotic, and a cerveza

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