Surprise Fiestas

>> Tuesday, October 23, 2007

As part of the weekly fiestas patronales in Masaya, we heard that San Jeronimo, the patron saint of Masaya, would be paraded through the city along with another saint, San Miguel. I have asked several people why San Miguel comes along; I didn’t really understand the explanations I received, so I just assume that Miguel is like Jeronimo’s sidekick. Anyway, the Sunday of the procession was very rainy, so Paul and I decided to skip the cultural event in the central park and stay home. School was canceled the next day, so Paul was in Managua and I was home by myself when suddenly I was startled by a loud cheer outside. Okay, okay, I was taking a nap when it happened, but I was still jolted awake because far more than the normal few conversation were happening on our corner.

I went outside and asked a neighbor what was going on, and he told me that it was the procession of San Jeronimo throughout the entire city of Masaya. I was confused because I thought the procession was the day before. It turns out it was—the procession began on Sunday at 8:00 am and was still going strong Monday at 11:00 am. San Jeronimo begins his parade at the San Jeronimo church and then walks down every street in Masaya with marching bands and “groupies” following him all the while. The loud cheer was because sidekick San Miguel’s float had just passed; fortunately, I was just in time to see San Jeronimo.

Here you can see why I was alarmed with all the noise: the street was packed like this up and down our entire block. People were also taking a lot of liberties with our porch, but at least no one came inside. Fortunately, I could stand out on the porch to watch the procession so I had plenty of room and a good escape route when it started to rain. I also eventually made friends with some of the chavalos perched on the porch, and they were kind enough to hold my umbrella over the camera and me so that the camera wouldn’t get wet while I snapped pictures. Here is San Jeronimo approaching our house. San Jeronimo himself is perched on a float made of flowers and other greenery. The flowers are a little wilty but that’s probably because 1) this was taken at about hour 25 of the procession; 2) it was pouring and had been raining for much of the previous 25 hours; and 3) when the float passed, a lot of people reached up and stole a few flowers for a souvenir.Here are the guys carrying the float along the road; it looks really heavy! When it’s time for the float to be moved, a group of guys pick up the float by wood beams along the bottom, carry him along a little way, then set him down again.Here a guy is changing San Jeronimo’s outfit; someone in the crowd had crocheted a new hat, cape, and flowered skirt (?) for him, so this guy was the official clothes-changer (In case you’re wondering, Jeronimo was sporting a nice pair of orange boxer shorts underneath). People also liked to hand their children up to this guy and he would pose them near the Saint for a picture.As soon as San Jeronimo and the bands passed, the crowd dispersed and all was quiet again. I fear I’m becoming spoiled by all the festivals here; not only is there a parade or event every weekend, but now I don’t even have to leave the house to see them.

1 comments:

Nancy 9:15 AM, October 24, 2007  

Very interesting customs. Who would have thought you would be able to participate in such an up close and personal way in the "Festival of the Orange Boxers". Where was Paul, by the way? He didn't come home with a new crocheted cap and flowered skirt, did he? Just wondering.

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