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Posts tagged “dia de la virgen de la concepcion

Día de la Virgen de La Concepción – Pyrotechnics and Folkloric Dances

Smoke and deafening explosions filled the air for maybe an hour as men ran through a minefield of granadas (translated to grenades) lighting the fireworks and firecrackers tied to them and bombas blasted noisily into the air from inside a heavy, metal tube placed vertically on the ground. Spectators clamped their hands to their ears, flinched, cowered and emitted screams and cheers as rogue fireworks shot off in random directions.

Every 7th of December a parade or convite slowly makes its way through the streets of the former capital Ciudad Vieja just outside Antigua in Guatemala. The following day they celebrate the town’s virgin patron’s day, Día de la Virgen de La Concepción, and after mass in the cathedral everyone crowds into the plaza outside for the noisy display of granadas.

Nowadays, Guatemalans celebrate all Catholic festivals with fireworks, firecrackers and bombas and due to a myriad of religious festivals throughout the year, it’s a rare day when there’s silence in the streets.

On this day, when the sounds subside and the smoke clears but with ringing ears and the sharp scent of gunpowder still in the nostrils, colorful folkloric dances begin. These mainly originated in the Iberian Peninsula and were probably brought over to Guatemala during colonial times picking up their own flavor in local towns and are a mix of theatrical dances and presentations.

The Dance of the 24 Devils, the Dance of the Seven Vices and Seven Virtues and the Dance of the Moors and Christians are three of the most popular.

A firework and firecracker laden granada.

 

 

Close up of a granada showing attached fireworks and firecrackers wrapped in paper.

 

 

Another close up of a granada and attached fireworks.

 

 

Field of granadas.

 

 

A colorful granada.

 

 

More granadas ready for lighting.

 

 

Exploding granadas.

 

 

 

 

Fireworks shooting through the air from the granadas.

 

 

Hiding from the fireworks behind an ice cream cart.

 

 

Decorated cathedral façade and bags of cotton candy.

 

 

Carrying a heavily laden granada.

 

 

Ice cream carts lined up outside the cathedral waiting for customers.

 

 

An indigenous woman's colorful headdress called a tzute.

 

 

Sheltering behind an ice cream cart and plugging ears against the deafening explosions.

 

 

A rogue firework shooting off from a granada.

 

 

 

 

A smoke-filled plaza.

 

 

 

 

More smoke and more rogue fireworks.

 

 

Running away after lighting the granadas.

 

 

 

 

An indian's beautiful feathered headdress.

 

 

Rear view of the same headdress showing feathers and animal tail.

 

 

Front view of the same headdress with animal skull and a mask.

 

 

Full view of feathered headdresses from behind.

 

 

The Spaniards.

 

 

 

 

The indians.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Indians dancing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The quetzal, the national bird of Guatemala, adorns his headdress.

 

 

The Spaniards dancing.

 

 

Devils.

 

 

Female figures in the Dance of the Seven Vices and Seven Virtues.

 

 

Dance of the Seven Vices and Seven Virtues.

 

 

Musicians.

 

 

Rear view of the devil's hair.

 

 

The monkey and a devil in the Dance of the 24 Devils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The monkey dancing.

 

 

More musicians.

 

 

Playing the marimba, a traditional instrument in Guatemala.

 

 

Drummer.

 

 

Death in the Dance of the 24 Devils.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Close up of Death.


Ciudad Vieja – Convite

Every year on the 7th of December a parade of floats makes its way through the streets of the former capital of Guatemala, Ciudad Vieja just outside Antigua. It’s customary to hold a convite the day before a procession and this one ushers in el Día de la Virgen de La Concepción.

There was a strange and colorful mix of religious and cultural themes including angels, indians, Spaniards, cowboys, devils, men dressed up as women and cartoon characters. It was a truly Guatemalan experience.

No festival in Guatemala is complete without the sound of marimba.

 

Another band member.

 

A float waiting for the parade to begin.

 

A hungry dwarf.

 

Mary.

 

An angel.

 

Another angel.

 

Little angels sitting on the float.

 

And another angel.

 

The pirates are coming.

 

And here they are.

 

A bull.

 

Cows.

 

A cowboy handing out flyers for the next days folk dance schedule.

 

A Spaniard’s horse.

 

A Spaniard and his horse.

 

A cowboy on horseback.

 

Indians.

 

An indian wearing a feathered headdress.

 

Musicians.

 

A friendly indian going the right way.

 

A bunch of cowboys.

 

The bull in action.

 

Mary and some angels.

 

A peasant with his bottle of Guatemalan rum.

 

Who is this?

 

Reindeer and a Christmas theme.

 

Not sure who this is.

 

Nor him.

 

A cowboy.

 

All together handing out flyers.

 

The musician.

 

More flyers.

 

The devil.

 

Looking good.

 

And another beauty with her drunken beau and his bottle of Gallo beer.

 

Colorful dancers.

 

Closeup.

 

Lovely couple.

 

Dancing.

 

Still dancing.

 

What a happy face.

 

Really going for it.

 

The first of the Abuelitas Parranderas or Partying Grandmothers.

 

Looking good.

 

So cool.

 

Two more beauties.

 

Lovely dresses.

 

Looking mean.

 

Lost someone?

 

Waiting in line.

 

They go in two by two.

 

Gorgeous hat.

 

The partying begins.

 

Really going for it. These women were awesome dancers.

 

Showing the footwork.

 

That was hard work. So elegant.

 

And who are these?