Monday, April 14, 2008

The Fair!

Yes, Rio Dulce has an annual fair, complete with thrill rides, kiddy rides, food and candy booths, large portable restaurants, game booths, and portable beer drinking establishments that show videos of Central American and Mexican rodeos (which are considerably rougher and tougher than the U.S. version). The fair takes place each year around Semana Santa (Easter). It officially opened today, Sunday, April 13th and will run until Sunday, April 20th. This year the fair unofficially got under way a week early, last Sunday, April 6th, and officially opened today.

For the locals, one of the highlights of the fair is the "Flor de la Feria" (Flower of the Fair). This is a teenage girl who is elected and reigns as "Queen of the Fair" and you will see her making her rounds at the fair wearing her crown. The selection process begins well before the fair starts and this year culminated last Sunday, April 6 with the election and parade of her and the runners-up. Unfortunately, the election caught us by surprise and we did not get photos of the event this year. However, Don Gato has taken quite a few photos of the fair itself. Just click on the photos to see larger versions.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Viernes Santo / Good Friday in Rio Dulce

March 21st was Good Friday (Viernes Santo). It is a day of penance and fasting that is observed throughout Latin America. In Guatemala, the Catholic Church and the cofradias (brotherhoods) mount processions commemorating Christ's Passion. These processions vary from small ones bearing just a crucifix to huge processions with many displays carried by members of the various cofradias. The most elaborate such procession in the world takes place in Antigua, Guatemala. The streets are decorated with elaborate colored sand paintings and it's an unforgettable sight. Because it is a day of penance, the difficulty of the labor is part of it. The largest display in the Antigua procession is that from the Church at La Merced. It weighs 8,000 pounds and is carried through the streets on the shoulders of 80 men.

Rio Dulce is an aquatic community where we get around much more in boats and canoes than by road or on foot so the procession in Rio Dulce takes place on the river itself. Don Gato was there to shoot photos:

(click the photos to see larger sizes)

Good Friday Procession

Good Friday Procession

Good Friday Procession