So, there are the people that spend the week going to mass everyday, waking up at ungodly hours of the morning to go to the church processions, and staying in (as my host grandmother says, "It's holy week, you shouldn't go out."). However, then there's the rest of the Nicaraguans (I'd say the majority), who take the week of vacation as just that, a vacation. People flock to the beaches, rivers, and pools, because Semana Santa just happens to coincide with the hottest time of year in Nicaragua. Sadly, the nightly news was filled each night with footage of crowded beaches and the daily report of how many more people have drowned, accompanied by footage of the bodies of drowned people (ew, gross!).
So, while grandma was staying at home, my host sister and I were joining almost everyone else in town at the local pool...that's right, there is now a pool in La Concordia! This is big news. It opened about a week before Semana Santa, and is located in a community called Wiscanal, a couple of kilometers away. During Semana Santa, I went to the pool 3 times and to the river twice. The pool has places to sit in the shade and sells food and beer (which I may or may not have enjoyed each time I was there). The pool itself is big and looked pretty clean to me. To get there, we'd usually start out on foot and then someone passing by would give us a ride.
The one church event that I did attend was the "Santo Entierro" (Holy Burial) at night on Good Friday. I wish I had brought my camera, but it was kind of a solemn occasion, so it would have been awkward to be taking pictures (plus I like to avoid looking like a tourist whenever possible). It was basically the longest, slowest, quietest parade ever. It started at 9 inside the church, and then we moved outside to start the procession. Everyone walked in 2 lines on both sides of the road, and in the middle were the people holding the platforms with the religious figures. One was a life-size Jesus, dead, lying down, covered in white cloth, with blood dripping across his forehead. The other two I really don't have a clue. Mary and Joseph maybe? Although Mary was holding a sword which I thought was a little odd. The platforms were carried by men and women (men for the male figures, women for the female), dressed in all black and wearing purple sashes. Each group had a back-up row of people so that they could trade out when they got tired of carrying. Jesus's platform had a whole bunch of back-ups. I think he was the biggest and heaviest. And so we walked. And the people carrying the platforms swayed back and forth as they walked. The procession was led by a truck with a generator in the back and speakers playing funeral march-type music. To say that we walked slow would be a huge understatement. We barely moved forward at all. And if we got too far ahead of the people carrying the platforms, we stopped and waited. Everyone was quiet the whole time, no one wanting to get a dirty look from the priest. It started sprinkling at one point, and the generators stopped working a couple times, so we were just standing there in complete silence. We walked a total of a few blocks, walking a normal speed it would maybe take 10 minutes. The procession was 2 HOURS long. Us inching our way down the street. I think next year I'll pass, although it definitely was a cultural experience, and I'm glad I participated in one of the church events, since it is a church holiday (which sometimes we tend to forget in the U.S., thinking it's about jelly beans and chocolate bunnies).
So, there you have it...Semana Santa. Next update will be about my work in the schools so far. I've got an exciting week coming up. I'm going to be headed to the beach at Puerto Corinto with a bunch of people in town, a trip organized by the church (hey- so there's some awesome things about the church here!) on Monday. And then Tuesday I head to the Selva Negra in Matagalpa for in-service training with the rest of Nica 60. I'm bringing 2 of the teachers that I work with with me, so hopefully it will be fun and educational. Then I'll be spending the weekend with my friends hanging out in Matagalpa before coming back to site. Fun, fun, fun.
Oh, and I'll be in CT in a little over a month! yay!
|Check out how my garden is doing! a couple carrots on the right, and sugar snap peas!|