Monday, February 12, 2007

Chacala Night in Las Varas

Tonight is the final night of the big annual fiesta in Las Varas. It runs about 10 days or so, and is primarily a religious event. Representatives of of all the towns surrounding Las Varas, including Chacala, attend a religious walk thru town to the large church, where a Mass and blessing are held every night.

Every small town in the area seems to have it's own walk and service. Four or five towns a night. Chacala's was Saturday night, and many Chacala people attended, walking the the street in dress-up clothes and carrying candles.

On Saturday night, Chacala's night to walk in the parade in Las Varas, I rode into Las Varas with Aurora, her husband Beto, and their two daughters, Letitia and Erika. This is the first year Beto has had a truck, and he was loving driving into Las Varas. Usually he and his family are passengers in the vehicle of another family member, so this was a big night. We were in line with about twenty other Las Varas trucks and it was really nice, and warm enough not to need a long sleeved shirt.The parade includes young girls wearing special outfits who are dancing a special dance. And at the end of Chacala's perinigracion there was a huge float, with religious scenes front and back. Local young men acted out various stories. Standing still, and posing. It was very beautiful and amazing for me. I have attended this event for four years, but this is the first time I saw a float with the Chacala group. I think they had a band too. Can't remember.
Other towns had their walklater in the evening, and some of them including floats to.

On the ride into Las Varas on Saturday night I was riding in the back with of Beto's pickup, with a young couple, Galen and Elizabeth. Along with Tom Carter, from the Washington Times. He is the latest reporter to visit Chacala. At first he seemed to be writing about the Techos, but then I think it turned out he was writing about retiring in Mexico. I don't think he was actually on assignment. Anyway.Anyway, we walked around town together, getting oriented and finding things to eat.

Las Varas is transformed during the fiesta week. Booths all over with food, clothes, and every kind of stuff you can imagine. And candy, and desserts, and alcohol, and cakes and strawberry desserts. And cakes, and dried fruit and hot dogs and hamburgers and pork tortas.The owners of most of the booths go from town to town, attending the various fiestas. The plaza has a bunch of food booths, and my companions got tacos or something and we sat on the plaza watching the bands and rides. There were bumper cars and bungee jumping of short people and a bunch of rides.

There were lots of bands on the plaza, with the guys all dressed up in their satin shirts. Notice the bottle of something in this guys pocket. He and his friends though my taking this photo was really funny. The all posed with their butts facing me. Luckily it didn't turn out.Aurora told me the band are auditioning to be hired for various family parties, and restaurants, and other events requiring a musical accompaniment. There were many, many games of chances, where you could win (theoretically) all kinds of stuff. But especially baskets of food.

These following photos are some of the religious scenes portrayed on large floats. Local people portray the various characters. I didn't understand the scenes, but one was about Isaac. Men stand beside the low electric lines with long poles, ready to lift the wires over the floats.


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