Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Fiesta de Maíz

Here in Suchitoto, and in many other towns in El Salvador, we celebrate the first corn harvest with a Fiesta de Maíz, which is also a celebration of the many farming villages and communities that are part of the Suchitoto municipality.  Kings and Queens of Maíz from the villages and women carrying baskets of fruit on their heads are part of a joyous procession that winds its way through the town to the church for the main Sunday Mass, after which we all pour into the parque central to stuff ourselves with elote, or fresh corn: tamales de elote, atole (hot corn drink), roasted corn-on-the-cob, elote loco (cooked corn-on-the-cob with decorations of, I think, ketchup and mayonnaise (among others), and riguas, my favorite, corn pancakes wrapped in banana leaves and grilled. 

A glorious party, and a festival that speaks to the central importance of corn - hard, white Salvadoran corn - in everyone's life here.   From the daily tortilla, which is the daily bread of every Salvadoran, to these festival foods it's clear that corn is the staff of life, as it was for the Mayan ancestors centuries ago.  ¡Que viva la Fiesta de Maíz!

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