Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day of San Isidro - patron saint of agriculture

There is a huge festival happening at the end of May and different dance groups are getting ready for it and have started dancing at various festivals. I´m drawing a blank on the name of this dance but it is one of the oldest in Peru. The are all carrying whips and dance around whipping each other´s legs. But not just kind of, but big wind up smacks. It has something to do with flagilation and taking pain for the patron saint of the festival. All in all it is completely crazy dance. Especially the part where some of them are about seven years old and giving and getting as well as any of the older boys.

Here he goes. Sometimes when they really connect well it is so loud that it hurts your ears. And they practiced on Wednesday and performed twice on Thursday and twice on Friday. I wonder what their calves look like. They wear a couple of pairs of socks, but no other type of protection as the whole point of it is to take the pain. There are some things this culture will never talk me into thinking are a good idea.

Friday was Saint Isidro´s day - he is the patron saint of agriculture. In the morning, all the people with young bulls that haven´t learned to work yet with the yolk and the plow are harnessed for the first time and brought to the plaza and they all walk around for a while. It was pretty funny when they would get confused or startled and then one team would go a little out of control and then the rest would do the same. There were about twenty teams of bulls and it made for a really interesting morning. These are the bulls of my lovely friend Andres whom I went to Puma Marka with last weekend. That´s not him walking them, he called in a friend to help as it takes a few people to control each team.

Here are some hill folks pouring chicha, which is the locally made fermented corn drink. They make huge huge batches of it and share all around all day. They drink chicha all day while they are working the fields to keep their energy up and keep them happy. At every festival there are people walking around giving out glasses of it. Even to kids which is strange to me because it is so so strong. Sometimes I like it, but sometimes it is really sour and I have a very hard time drinking it but they are waiting for you to drink and hand back the glass to go to the next person. That is the way they drink here. One big beer with one glass and everyone takes turns drinking. There is no way to keep your germs to yourself or keep other people´s germs to themselves. At some point you just kind of give up and let it go.

In the afternoon there was a bull fight. Which was not a bull fight with a matador, but where everyone brings their bulls to the same field and then two at a time they let them go and they fight. At first I thought that was really aweful but then someone explained a couple of things that made pretty good sense. One is that because these bulls are their livlihood, they aren´t going to let anything happen to them that will keep them from working the fields. The other was that they are not making them fight, they are letting them fight as it is their nature and the bulls are better behaved when they get to fight a few times a year. I don´t know about that, but I was glad to see that no one ever seemed to get hurt. Mostly their foreheads are pushing against each other trying to decide which one is stronger then eventually one of them will give up and walk away. Self regulating. And sometimes to my absolute delight, the bulls would refuse to fight. They would walk up to each other and instead of locking horns, they would touch noses and then wander off. These ¨fights¨were my favorites.

No comments:

Post a Comment