Thursday, October 18, 2007

San Rafael Week in Chacala

San Rafael is the patron saint of Chacala. I don't know what that means, or how it came to be. But I do know about some of the ways Chacala celebrates this annual event. This is my fourth time helping (loosely speaking) to celebrate the event, and I have some familiarity with what goes on.
The week starts with fireworks and the church bell ringing, starting about 4:30am every morning. And then fireworks to mark the start of the daily Peregrinacion, and then the start of the Mass. To help people get up for the 5am Mass, and to know when the other events are starting. And maybe a morning Walk too. I have never been up that early, so I wouldn't know. That happens daily for about a week or so. Maybe longer. It sounds like we are in a war zone three times a day.The previous celebrations all included a series of daytime Peregrinaciones (religious walks) from various "colonias"/neighborhoods, in Chacala to the church. Notice they occur ed in the daytime. With a special Peregrinacion on the actual San Rafael Day, ending at the church. Then a Mass is celebrated, and a first Communion for the children of Chacala who are over 8. At least those kids who have taken the Catechism class, and passed. Juanito, above, taught much of the class this year.
And a blessing of the fishing boats. And some kind of a fishing boat parade. And some years there is a big feast after the Mass. And some years not.And so far there has been a dance each year, on the day of the Mass. Starting about dark on the Primaria playground. Pretty big deal. Sometimes recorded music. Sometimes a band. Last years celebration was amazing, with a great live band.
Last year (above) the crowning of Chacala's princess happened at the dance. Plus a very unusual concert by some guys from this area. And a very nice band that played danceable music. And the music wasn't so loud that you couldn't talk.

Anyway, so far this year, there have been some changes. The Princess crowning event took place a few days ago at a local restaurant, in the evening. The daily Peregrinacion, with a church services afterwards, no longer is taking place during the late afternoon. This year it's beginning about 7:3o or 8:00 at night.

There's very little moonlight right now and it's very dark. I don't know whose idea it was, but it seems strange. The walk includes many older folks and young children, and mothers and babies. Stumbling thru the night. The bell for the church service after the walk just rang. At 8:30pm. Wandering around on cobblestone and dirt roads in the dark seems a little strange to me. But whatever.

Anyway. The date of the San Rafael dance seems to have changed at least three times this year. But now it's set for Friday night, tomorrow. That's the Disco Dance with DJ.

Then on Tuesday night, after the San Rafael walk,. Mass, boat blessing, possibility a meal, there will be another dance. Apparently with 3 bands. It isn't clear if they will all play at once. Sometime that happens in restaurants in Chacala.

I really like the dances in Chacala. Aside from the potential for extremely loud, really ugly music. All ages attend, and by the end of the night everyone is dancing. Couples you didn't even know were married (because you never see them together in public) are out on the dance floor/basketball court, dancing their hearts away. Little kids and big kids are there. Teenage boys are hanging around the edges. Beer and pop are for sale. And things to eat. Very fun and very interesting to watch the social interactions. Lots of laughing.


wayne said...

I love the Mexican pageants. Especially the beauty pageants. It is so interesting to see what they choose to wear. A lot of times it looks like the USA did in the 50's and 60's. I don't know about all of that noise though. I am lucky that most of that kind of stuff happens in the downtown area, three miles away from me!

brenda said...

hola, como estas? solo escribo para decirte que mi hermana y yo siempre leemos tus comentarios hacerca de chacala y de su gente, no hablamos ingles, pero tratamos de entender lo que escribes en tu pagina.
nosotras vivimos en tijuana pero yo vivi en chacala mis primeros aƱos de vida, y me encanta que alguien este interesado en el lugar.... sin mas por el momento me destpido.