Sunday, October 2, 2011

Viva la Queen!!! (Crowning of the Spring Queen)

Spring is celebrated here on the 23rd of September, with a ton of activities, but none with more pomp and circumstance than the Crowning of the Spring Queen. From my perspective, it was exactly like class president, home coming queen, and prom all wrapped-up into one event. And so when I found out one the girls in my health promoters group (Rose Mari) was in the running (she told me that day), and that she wanted me to be her padrino (the guy that sponsors her and places the crown on her), I had to bring my "A" game.

After asking many annoying questions (and probably dumb ones too) I finally figured out what is the Spring Queen was, how it worked, and more importantly what the Padrino has to do. This is what I got: Each class nominates a girl to represent them. Then the girl has to go around and sell tickets at .20 cents each. The tickets act as votes, and the money goes towards paying for the dresses. There are 7 girls in the running, and the top 3 win spots (Queen, Princess, and Dama). To win, you need to bring in the most money. The winner is announced on Wednesday, the dresses with accessories are rented on Thursday, and on Friday, the school is presented their queen, the court is paraded around Caraz in a truck, and the dresses are returned that night. As for the padrino, this honor is usually reserved for a male in the family (like a uncle or grandfather), you are asked to put money in behind your candidate's votes (mainly because selling .20 cent tickets to school kids in Yurocoto will never pay for a dress), and if your candidate win's, you get to put the crown on her.

Pretty simple. But what do you do if you're the Padrino, were asked the morning the money was due to be counted, and your kid has sold about 88% less the leading competitor. One option is to say: "Well, its was nice just to be nominated". But remember Rose Mari, had just spent the morning working her tail off (as the only representative for Yurocoto, and a favor to me) to make sure the kids with disabilities could enjoy the March of Peace (see previous post) in Caraz. Furthermore, what do you do when you check your wallet and you're down to 10S/.

Here's what I did. I asked the pageant coordinator for time to walk to my house and tell my host mom that I wouldn't be home for lunch. Then I ran home and dug to the bottom of my dresser where I keep a pair a pants I rarely use, and more importantly, 60S/. in the pocket of the before mentioned pants. Then I ran back to the school. Dripping in sweat, I gave the coordinator the cash, and they began the final "vote" counting process.

As you can see from the tallies below, Rose Mari made a dramatic surge at the end to beat Damaris and seal her bid for the crown. I instantly felt like a jack-ass watching Damaris (someone who obviously took time to sell tickets) loose, but felt better watching Damaris and Rose Mari hug. Both being graceful and humble in their respective rights. It also made me happy thinking that I helped make Rose Mari's day, as I'm sure this on her list of "tops" in her short 16 years.

Here are some pictures and videos to document the Queen's rise to power and her subsequent reign. Viva la reina!
This is a picture of the vote tally prior to the Padrino's contribution.

This is the aftermath of me way over shooting on my contribution.

The royal subjects lined up to be presented the Queen.

Here's me crowning the Queen.

Here is the Queen on parade around Caraz.

And finally, here is a video of the Queen signing to her subjects (sorry it's so jerky):