Monday, May 3, 2010

May 3rd 2010 – Holy Day of the Cross

I woke up at about 6 - the usual time and headed downstairs for my hot shower because the water was running today. Cecilia met me and said … ‘hurry … we have to go buy flowers.’ (In Spanish of course)

She told me she wanted to buy flowers and fruit this morning but she didn’t say HOW early!!

Sigh. So I rushed and rushed and we were out of the house by 6:30 to go to market.

Today is Holy Day of the Cross. It is the tradition to decorate a cross with flowers and fruit and put it near your door to keep evil away. People come from the country with loads of fruit and flowers and tree parts to sell as decorations. The homemade wooden crosses cost 25¢ each. They are made out of 3” width tree trunks. And most of the other items cost a quarter also. There are mangos, grape like things, papaya, mandarin oranges and a wide variety of delicate flowers. Cecilia and I bought about $2 worth of stuff. There are lots of people who walk away with only 25 cents worth. Maybe they have things growing at their homes…

Cecilia did most of the decorating. She basically covered up the cross. I thought it was maybe a ‘ruse’ to trick the evil spirits … they can’t see the cross till they get really close then they will run away when they finally do. But no. It is just her way to decorate it. Later, she saw some photos in the newspaper of other decorated crosses and commented that their crosses were visible – that the fruit and flowers were at the base of the cross and hanging around it. So maybe next year ours will look a little different.

Later, Cecilia came up to the office to tell me the legendary Sihuanaba and El Cipitio were in town so she was afraid to answer the door. (These are characters from Salvadoran Legends and if anyone wants to read those legends, I have them in a file on my computer. Email me and I will send it to you!).

And so I went down with my camera – knowing more or less what I would see.

There is a troupe of about a dozen people who walk the town all dressed up as these characters and others; devils, witches, etc. They are accompanied by a local band complete with bass, violin, guitars and portable drum. And for $1 they will sing and dance and stop bothering you!

I followed behind them a ways and they stopped to tease and play with one of the local shop keepers. So I started taking photos. It was quite fun. And then one of the characters said my name. Whoa! That was a surprise.

I later found out the guys (and they are ALL guys dressed as both the men and women characters) were from Muñoces and I knew most of them!

They moved on and then I continued my walk to the post office. On my way back, they were ‘harassing’ another local shop and their clients and they must have paid because the troupe started to sing and dance. So lucky us … we have photos!

And then later in the day… at lunchtime, they were walking by so I went out to take more photos. And Mercedes (a friend from City Hall) was walking by with his VERY pregnant wife and asked them to play at their house. So of course I followed. This time I took a video! I’ll give Mercedes and his family a copy to send to their family in the U.S.

Munoces Holy Day of the Cross Troupe

My friends from Munoces. A motly crew ...

Dancing and singing away the evil spirits.

'Harassing' the shop-keepers for pay!
All in fun and a BIG tradition here in El Salvador

1 comment:

Alisha Lundberg said...

Ah yes! I forgot that Sihuanaba was Cipitio's mom. So all those times Cecilia called me "la madre de Cipitío", she really meant Sihuanaba. Did you see either of them during the festivities?