Saturday, September 17, 2011

Dia de Independencia

September 15, last Thursday, Suchitoto and towns all over Central America celebrated the Dia de la Independencia - Independence Day, celebrating the day in 1821 when Central America declared its freedom from Spain. It was, of course, cause for a good fiesta! The party began Wednesday evening with the traditional procession of the students at InSu, the Instituto de Suchitoto, equivalent to high school, complete with floats and wild costumes. My favorite float, created at the Centro Arte para la Paz, was a version of the famous San Salvador statue of Jesus standing atop the globe, and it had to progress very slowly and carefully so that the wires could be lifted with a long pronged stick as it passed every house. There was an angel (photo above) followed by a corps of dancing angels, a 19th century cart and horse, followed by students in Victorian dress, and the Carreta de la Chillona - Martha tells me that a kind of rattle lets you know when la Chillona is hunting down the living, and her carreta was appropriately decorated with skulls.

The next morning all the school kids in town and many from the colonias marched through the town. We hung out the door and a window as they passed, almost every school with some students in costumes and a marching band. And then there was La Ciguanaba, the old witch who dangles her sausage breasts in vain attempts to catch a lover. And there were these little girls dancing up the street.

I've lived in cities most of my life where parades are very organized rituals with professional floats, and I can't tell you how much fun it is to be part of the crowd hanging out on the edges of these two happy parades. ¡Viva la Independencia!

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