Saturday, October 2, 2010
Greetings from Oconahua. I hope everyone had a great feast day for the Angel Michael on Wednesday. We certainly celebrated it in style around here! My mom timed her trip perfectly and arrived in Guadalajara on Tuesday evening. After spending the night there, we headed back to Oconahua to take our naps to get ready for the evening’s fun.
We arrived at the plaza at about 9pm in order to find some food for dinner and find a spot to sit for the evening. Seating is at a premium when there are a few curb areas and a few benches and hundreds of people milling around hoping for a place to rest for a while. We ended up getting the last available curb space with a partial view of the plaza. We dined on treats like tacos, hot dogs, hot cakes, and churros from the various vendors at the festival. We also made a trip up to the church where we got to see the remains of a “carpet” made of colored sawdust that had been created outside the church and saw the crowds of people inside waiting for their turn to approach the town’s patron saint statue for their blessing.
The musical entertainment for the evening was a group of young people performing some banda music followed by a professional banda group to entertain us for the rest of the evening. We spent the evening listening to music and waiting around for the night’s main attraction—the castillo. They were still building this framework tower with fireworks attached to it when we arrived, and it wasn’t set off until 1am. The fireworks are set off right in the plaza, so the crowd occasionally gets to try to dodge stray ones that fly their direction or brush off the embers of ones that have fallen from the sky. It certainly keeps you on its toes! After that, we hit the candy booth to pick up several types of dried fruits and headed home for the night. The party kept on going without us, though. When I woke up at 5:30, there was still music coming from the plaza.
My photos this week are from the festival. One is of my mom eating a hot cake—she got hers with honey on top, while mine had cajeta (caramel sauce). The other photo is of the most impressive part of the castillo lighting. You can’t see it very clearly, but it has text asking for a blessing from the saint, the year, a picture of an angel, and a few other details.