Thursday, September 16, 2010
Dia de la Independencia
Yesterday was Guatemalan Independence Day. The party really started on Tuesday night. The community had a big dance and party at the school but I was SOOOO tired and did not go. I also did NOT want to deal with the disgusting amount of bolos (drunks) that were roaming around. Here, a holiday for a man means gets obliterated by dawn and stumble through the next two days. Okay that may be harsh judgment of the alcohol problem here but I get endlessly harassed by the drunks and it is starting to take its toll on me.
Wednesday morning featured a parade with all the elementary students, middle school students and a band. The band was made up of middle school students and they had been practicing for at least a month for many hours a day. I was pleasantly impressed with their music. The parade also had a giant green dragon and I am still baffled by its significance. The students all danced their way onto the school basketball court. There was lots of music and dancing. The girls who were voted by their classmates to be the “senoritas” for the year were presented in their beautiful gowns. Also, since the independence of Guatemala from Spain is tied with the nations of Honduras, El Salvador and Nicaragua there was also a presentation of each of those nation’s flags. Finally the Guatemalan national Anthem was played (which I am told was voted the 2nd most beautiful national anthem in the world) and the real fun began. Three groups of about 40 students presented what was called “gymnasio” (gym) which was kind of like watching a giant aerobics class. It was meant to be dancing but I am not sure if I would define it as that. The presentations were accompanied by loud, obnoxious American techno music which made me laugh…”what is love, baby don’t hurt me, don’t hurt me…anymore!” Love it!
Other than the crazy aerobic dances there was a LOT of marimba to go around. The traditional Guatemalan musical instrument is famously made in my municipalidad so it was played all day and all night! And no independence day is complete without fireworks, or “bombas,” as called here. They do not so much go off and explode with beautiful colors and just explode and make a loud bomb noise. I still jump! All in all it was an interesting day to watch and see the wonderful Guatemalan pride.