Monday, December 12, 2011

Viva Santa Lucia! Viva Suchitoto!

First and most important, I'm happy to say that my neighbor made it through surgery after being shot, and is now out of danger.  I don't know much more, but that is good news. 

And then today is the vigil of the feastday of Santa Lucia, Suchitoto's patron saint, and it has been wildly full of events.  The Barrio Santa Lucia started the day with loud firecrackers and their morning procession to church.  In the afternoon I went to the Mass honoring Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (her procession, with all the children dressed in traditional outfits, happened yesterday).  Today's Mass was followed by another procession - yes, it does get a bit confusing - this one honoring Santa Lucia.  Down my street they came, first the altar boys with cross and candle, then the brass band, then the priest and a fiesta princess, then a statue of Santa Lucia (not the one in the church which is very old and very beautiful) carried by women, then about 75 people in the procession and finally, bringing up the rear, the Barrio Santa Lucia float, with its waving princess.

What could be better than that?  Fireworks, that's what.  After the procession and Santa Lucia make their way back into the church, it's time for the fiesta to begin.  They'd been set up in advance, both ranks of rockets and a number of figures (there's a representative one here) lavishly dressed in fireworks.  I found what seemed like a great place in the crowded plaza to watch, trying to avoid the hot pupusa stands and not stand too near to the works (it's a scene that would give U.S. fire marshalls instant anxiety attacks).  I hadn't paid enough attention to the wind, though, and the first barrage of fireworks came right in my direction - and CLOSE, so I was brushing cinders off my shirt and out of my eyes.  Then came the toros - men who put on "bull" frames that have been wired with firecrackers and run through the center of the plaza in an explosion of flames and small rockets.  They lit up various figures - a butterfly, a woman, a campesino - each of which had its own drama of sparks and flames and rockets.  And finally, they touched a match to the stage center and it went in a whoosh of colors.  More rockets.  And now there's a big dance going on next to the Alcaldia (City Hall) - just far enough away so I probably can get to sleep.

¡Que viva la fiesta!  ¡Que viva Santa Lucia!  ¡Que viva Suchitoto!

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