A Guatemalan Election Campaign: Dancing Characters, Confetti, Firecrackers and a Prayer
A carnival buzz charged the breeze. Colorful confetti fluttered like a plague of butterflies, landing in people’s hair and staining the cobbles. Exploding firecracker sparks ricocheted between painted house fronts a few feet from the crowd, deafening echoes blasting the eardrums and smoke clogging the air.
Two days before the Guatemalan General Elections, so much sound pollution invaded my apartment that I decided to grab my camera and head outside to see what all the noise was about.
Just outside, next to the little park, an election campaign was in full swing, a small stage blocking the street entrance. A candidate for the mayor of Antigua, flanked by his family and followers waving red flags, was promoting himself enthusiastically, loudly spewing his political spiel into a microphone.
A small crowd of supporters wearing identical red t-shirts emblazoned with the political party slogan and youths half-dressed in clumsy character costumes clustered around the stage avidly following each word. They sang and chanted. They cheered, clapped and waved.
An assortment of giant gaudy character heads littered the ground behind them, removed and momentarily abandoned once their role in the outlandish dancing display was over. I’d heard the loud music from inside my apartment, blasting out of oversized speakers but I’d missed that part of the spectacle.
As the campaign came to a close, the hopeful future mayor of Antigua recited a prayer while everyone bowed his or her head. Guatemalan law required all vote soliciting to end at midday on September 9 in preparation for elections on September 11.
Youths retrieved their character heads posing for photographs while helpers dismantled the stage, packing it up into the back of a pickup truck and driving off. Everyone else trickled away on foot through the park and normal daily life resumed.
This election coverage is fabulous. I can’t believe all the crazy, silly things they do there! I can’t even imagine having our election like that, especially the silly heads and fireworks. Must be quite an adventure. Did they select the winner? Is it legitimate? P.S. Love your new blog colors and layout!
September 20, 2011 at 8:05 pm
Thank you Nicole! It was fun, colorful and quite strange! That candidate didn’t win unluckily for him. And yes, it’s legitimate. It’s normal here. This country is full of color and interesting festivals. Hopefully you’ll see for yourself next year!
Glad you like the new blog colors! I was experimenting and still need to use a dark color for some of the text to show up. I like this version better. Lucy
September 20, 2011 at 8:50 pm