Monday, October 3, 2011

San Miguel's Party

The Sra. Betty (the owner of the restaurant where Roger works) had family in town this week to celebrate the Fiesta of San Miguel. I'm not sure the exact reason why her family celebrates this saint, but I do know that I was invited, or more appropriate, demanded to attend.
It was a Catholic affair, so there were somethings I recognized from my schooling, but beside being able to predict the next prayer, there wasn't too much that was similar to what I have seen at Saint Francis. For starters, there was a guy with a firework rockets... and any time there was a transition in the mass, a prayer offered up, or priest breathed, a rocket was shot up. Then there was the shrine of San Miguel, this was bigger than the alter, and was promptly ushered out into the streets where the people dance and prayed to tunes provided by a full marching band. Oh, I may have forgot to mention that there was a band. This band sat a the back of the church in matching blue and white Hawaiian shirts and talked loudly to amongst themselves during the mass. Occasionally they would play 6 or 7 notes of a song, but this was without rhyme or reason, and I suspect it was mostly them practicing for their next gig.

Here is a picture of the precession, and a video I made following the mass (I don't know what to say about the first 20 seconds of this video. I just found it interesting that a Toyota that size could carry that much weight) :

San Miguel Video

After the procession, my skills honed from 13 years of Catholic schooling then came in useful, as I was soon able to detect that the ceremony had shifted it's focus to distributing efficiently large amounts of music, food, and beer. So the rest of the celebration looked no different than the tailgate area of the Washington-Grizzly stadium in Missoula, only it was inside of a rural church in Peru.

In all honestly, I didn't find the party too much fun. There is a point when a party is lively and exciting, and then there is a point when there are too many people spilling things on you and speaking to you in a unwelcoming combination spiting while yelling two inches from your face. This tipping point, appears to sneak up on people very quickly here, as I was more than ready to retreat home at 7:00PM.  Moreover, my Spanish skills are horrible if there is background noise, and trust me there was plenty of background noise.

The day wasn't a complete loss as I got to spend some quality time with a few of the teachers I work with at the school. I also got to hear Sra. Betty's brother (Keke) and cousin (Raul) both play live music. Keke plays the harp, scratch that, rocks the harp. While Raul (also a teacher at my school) sings romantic ballets.