A FEAST DAY IN THE COUNTRY – AND THE CITY : Fêting San Antonio in Latin America

San Antonio. La Recoleta Church (Quito, Ecuador). photo © Lorraine Caputo

On this rainy night, the eve of the feast day of San Antonio de Padúa, hundreds of kilometers from Los Crepúsculos, I imagine I hear the strains of his serenade.

¡Ay, mi padre San Antonio

Donde está que no lo veo

Que vine a cantar con él

Y me voy con los deseos!

 

Qué queréis con San Antonio

Que lo ‘tas  llamando tanto

San Antonio  está en el cielo

Junto con los otros santos

 

Señores los bailadores

No se vayan a pegar

Los remedios ‘tan  muy lejos

No hay quien los vaya a buscar

 

Adorar y adorar y adorar a mi padre San Antonio

Adorar y adorar y adorar a mi padre San Antonio

 

Ay, my father San Antonio

Where are you, I don’t see you

I’ve come to sing with him

And I’ll be leaving with my dreams!

 

What is it you want with San Antonio

That you’re calling upon him so much?

San Antonio is in heaven,

Along with the other Saints.

 

It is the eve of the feast day of San Antonio – Saint Anthony of Padua. In the middle of the street of a neighborhood of Barquisimeto, Venezuela, musicians are seated in front of a statue of San Antonio. As they sing their honoring song honoring to this saint, bottles of cocuy (homebrew liquor) are being passed.

This serenade will continue until the wee hours of the morn, when then the all-day procession commences with a mass, and ends with an evening of seven dances…

Iglesia Nuestra Señora de Guápulo (Quito, Ecuador). photo © Lorraine Caputo

 

Even many years after that night in Los Crepúsculos, the serenade sounds through my mind. Every time I encounter a statue of San Antonio – no matter the season – I mouth the words and sway, dancing to this great saint.

 

Iglesia de Sn Antonio (M’burucuyá, Argentina). photo © Lorraine Caputo

The feast day of Saint Anthony of Padua is celebrated on 13 June. San Antonio was born Fernando Martins de Bulhões, in Lisbon, Portugal, in 1195. He was contemporary of Saint Francis of Assisi (San Francisco de Asís), founder of the Franciscan order. Saint Anthony became a monk of this order, and was famous for his knowledge of scripture, being able to teach them through simple words and deeds. Thus he holds the title of Doctor of the Church. He died 13 June 1231.

San Antonio is represented by the infant Jesus cradled in one arm. Sometimes he also holds a book or a lily blossom. He is the patron saint of lost causes, lost (or stolen) items, lost people and of the poor. In France, Italy, Spain and his native Portugal, Saint Anthony is the patron saint of sailors and fishermen. In other countries, he is the patron of travelers. On his saint’s day, small loaves of bread are passed out after the mass. This symbolizes San Antonio’s devotion to the marginalized peoples of these lands.

San Antonio is fêted throughout the Americas, from Mexico to Argentina. Today, we shall witness the traditions in two distinct parts of this region: in the deep countryside of Nicaragua, and in the barrios of the city of Barquisimeto, in Venezuela.

 

Iglesia San Francisco (Quito, Ecuador). photo © Lorraine Caputo

 

Many moons ago, when I stayed a mighty spell in Estelí, I was invited to accompany Padre Juan and some of the Rugama family to Terrero, a small settlement in the mountains of northern Nicaragua.

 

A FEAST DAY IN THE COUNTRY

 

Campesinos climb the rocky road

up to the brick chapel

With four guitars & two basses

their song fills the  valley

of these greened hills

Rockets fire into the air

 

In his glass case carried

in two men’s work-worn hands

San Antonio sways

Mothers & children enter the church

Fathers gather outside

smoking cigarettes

talking about crops & cattle

The Saint rests to one side of the altar

in front of the moss-covered apse

studded with plastic-petalled carnations

made by women of this parish

A large cloth-covered basket

of fresh-baked bread

is placed atop him

 

On horseback       on foot

the late arrive

One tethers his mare

to a guanacaste tree

Tattered curtains of Spanish moss

floating the blue-white sun breeze

In the distance two women

comedown the camino

They hold the hands of their children´

a baby in arms

 

Outside Padre Juan confers

with the mass assistants

&the musicians

 

More & more ascend the slope

to the sanctuary

Another rocket rises into the sky

where light clouds move & form swiftly

The white line of its smoke

the pop of its explosion

 

The priest & the choir enter the chapel

Men put their discussions aside

&pack into the back

 

Faces of those unable to fit inside

peer into the open doors & windows

 

Some compadres remain perched

on the scattered lava boulders

cowboy hats, baseball caps on knees

One holds his daughter on his thigh

The bow of her yellow voile dress

flutters in the soft wind

 

As the mass unfolds

with the reading of the scripture

the music

with the sermon

& the testimonies of the community

with the celebration of the Eucharist

More families near the temple

children in hand tottering along

children in arms

Men hastily remove their hats

 

The wafers are placed on tongues

Outside a man lights the fuse

of the rockets with his cigarette

The swooshes       the cracks

of each fill the late morning

 

The last song is being sung

Two women carry the basket of bread

All within & outside this crowded

church are fed

 

Amid cries bounding from one another

¡Viva San Antonio!

                                                ¡Viva!

                  ¡Viva San Antonio!

                                                ¡Viva!

The Saint is carried away

in his glass case

the handles held by those

two sets of work-worn hands

Down the hill

down the winding road

up the next rise

into the distance

Rocket blasts reverberate

throughout the valley

 

published in: Baobab (2000)

 

Iglesia San Francisco (Puerto Ayora, Isla Santa Cruz, Galapagos). photo © Lorraine Caputo

 

In further south climes, this popular Saint is also being fêted. One of his largest strong hold is in Venezuela’s state of Lara, where he is the patron saint. The tamunangue music and dances of these celebrations have their roots deep in Africa. It is said to have originated with San Antonio himself, during his missionary work in northern Africa.

My first visit to Venezuela coincided with the fiestas of San Antonio. Friends around the country urged me to get to Barquisimeto, capital of Lara. Yakarí offered to be my guide through the two days of celebrations in the Los Crepúsculos neighborhood. This is home of one of the most traditional troupes, Grupo de Tamunangue Uyama.

The evening of June 12 is the velorio (vigil) to San Antonio, a serenade on the eve of his saint’s day. The next day, mass is said at the parish church in La Unión. The procession then wends through the streets, with dancing and drumming until dusk. At night, the round of dances is performed.

 

A FEAST DAY IN THE CITY

 

  1. El Velorio / Los Crepúsculos

 

The warning rockets are fired

one two three & four

with the butt of a cigarette

 

San Antonio stands in his case

near the door of a house

His wooden capilla

is backdropped by fan-

shaped palm leaves

Two vases of flowers

perch at the front corners

Their carnations scent the evening

a single candle flickers

 

People gather in the cul-de-sac

awaiting this velorio to begin

Many come & touch his head

his back       & then cross themselves

 

The strumming of cuatros

& guitarra marruna

                  begins before this saint

Of a septet standing before him

the strains of Ave María Purísima

A rocket fired

&a second

rocket tras rocket

 

After the song

one troubadour

prays aloud

The standing people repeat

¡Viva San Antonio!

                  ¡Viva San Antonio!

 

Everyone sits in silver

wrought-iron seats set

in a semi-circle before the Saint

Two troubadours in the front row

sing to San Antonio

 

Playing kids roam

young teen women gossip—

their mothers & grandmothers, too

 

Two floodlights brighten

the street, the scenario

 

A brindis of cocuy

is left for San Antonio

& after a coffee break

the serenade continues

More men join with

cuatros, voice and cincos

Between songs more

cocuy is poured

 

A grey-rooted, red haired woman

in a bright green shirt

claps with the music

swaying in rhythm

Her palms redden

song after song

 

These men, their eyes reddening

sing leaning into a compañero

or closes his eyes

They praise San Antonio

la-la-ing with heart & smile

or eyes wide, brows twisted with feeling

 

As the evening grows older

people move the chairs

into tight circles around the music

 

And when the velorio

ends at midnight

The musicians suit their instruments

until the next morn,

San Antonio’s feast

 

 

poem © Lorraine Caputo

 

On San Antonio’s feast day, the biggest celebration is in Barrio La Unión. After the morning mass at the parish church, tamunangueros dance through the streets, carrying the beloved saint from house to house. This procession with its accompanying drumming (and copious amounts of cocuy) continues until dusk. After the sun sets, the seven sones (rhythms) of tamunangue are danced by couples armed with garrotes (sticks).

Yakarí and I spent the day being one with the procession. That night, we returned to Los Crepúsculos. For hours we sat on the blacktop street while he explained the intricacies of each dance.

The tamunangue not only honors San Antonio on his feast day, but it is also performed to fulfill a promise (promesa) to him for granting a good harvest, a family request (for wishes of healing, a new home, studies, etc.) or for love conquered.

The tamunangue consists of the Dedicatorio or Serenade to San Antonio, which includes the Batalla (Battle), performed by two men. This is to ask the Saint for permission to present the dances promised to him.

This is then followed by a round of seven dances performed by couples:

  • El Yiyevamos – The opening dance, with the singer directing the dancers with his calls
  • La Bella – An honoring of women
  • La Juruminga – Based rhythms and forgotten African words
  • La Perrendenga – A dance between woman and man, with garrotes
  • El Poco a PocoThree humorous passes compose this dance
  • El Galerón – The couples dance holding hands
  • El Seis Figurado (Seis Corrido) – Three men and three women dance a total of 32 movements, acting out the picaresque calls of the singer

 

These are just two of the ways San Antonio is fêted in Latin America, in the countryside and in the city, by campesinos and by African descendants. The pueblos of this region wear many other faces, including indigenous. Many roads, there are, yet to wend to continue honoring this saint.

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NEW PUBLICATIONS : Poetic and Travel

NEW PUBLICATIONS : Poetic and Travel

It’s time for the bimonthly round-up of recent publications of my poetry and travel writing, which are continuing to appear regularly in journals and on websites around the world.

And I have (finally) hit the Big Leagues in the literary world! Check out my story that appeared in Prairie Schooner – as well as travel advice for exclusively for women (though you men might pick up a few useful tips, too!) and a review by a travelling family I met.

Safe Journeys!

Ever ready to give a poetry reading: My “traveling poetry” books with over 25 years of works, in English and in Spanish. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Ever ready to give a poetry reading: My “traveling poetry” books with over 25 years of works, in English and in Spanish. photo © Lorraine Caputo

 

NEW LITERARY EXPRESSIONS

“We Ain’t Supposed to Play,” in 3:33 Sports Short, Prairie Schooner (22 September 2016)

Playing ball in the streets of Cartagena. photo © Lorraine Caputo

Playing ball in the streets of Cartagena. photo © Lorraine Caputo

NEW TRAVEL EXPRESSIONS

AndesTransit

10 Things to Know When Traveling Sola

Insider’s Galapagos / Galapagos Travel Planner (including ghostwritten articles)

Galapagos Islands: what happens in September

Floreana Island: Off the Beaten Galapagos Track

Santiago Island: A Hidden History of Colonization in the Galapagos Islands

 

AND FOR SOMETHING COMPLETELY DIFFERENT …

Jessica and Will homeschool their two pre-teen children – with an international twist. Each  year, they choose a different country in which to live, so that Avalon and Largo also learn other cultures and languages, They have lived in Costa Rica, Ecuador – and have just begun their latest adventure in the south of France.

Follow them at Goodie Goodie Gumdrop. They are truly inspiring!

History In Quito + Weekly Round Up

NEW YEARS EVE IN LATIN AMERICA : A Photographic – Poetic Journey

At the stroke of midnight, eat one grape at each toll, making a wish of what you desire the New Year to bring you. ©Lorraine Caputo

At the stroke of midnight, eat one grape at each toll, making a wish of what you desire the New Year to bring you.
©Lorraine Caputo

Tonight, as this old year ends, people will be celebrating throughout Latin America. Fireworks burst across the midnight sky, and twelve grapes are eaten with each stroke of that hour, to bring twelve wishes to fruition. Viejos (Old Man Year) are set afire, finally exploding into a million sparks shooting into the new year. Food and liquor flow into the wee hours.

One of Latin America’s most common New Year Eve traditions is the Old Man Years, often representing politicians, sports stars or other people in the news. photo © Lorraine Caputo

One of Latin America’s most common New Year Eve traditions is the Old Man Years, often representing politicians, sports stars or other people in the news. photo © Lorraine Caputo

The most explosive of the customs is the Años Viejos (Old Man Years). These effigies represent politicians, sports figures, entertainment celebrities or other famous persons. At midnight on New Year’s Eve, they are dragged to the middle of the street and lit ablaze. Once the flames reach the center of the effigy, the fireworks stuffing explodes.

Some Latin American neighborhoods have contests for the best one, in which civilians and public services, like the bomberos (fire department) will participate. In Ecuador, the end-of-year custom also includes displays summarizing the year’s events in political, sporting and other arenas. Often Años Viejos are accompanied with a testamento, a word of advice or with a list of the things to be burned before the New Year begins.

Colombians believe that a sheath of wheat placed in your home brings abundant food and prosperity in the New Year. ©Lorraine Caputo

Colombians believe that a sheath of wheat placed in your home brings abundant food and prosperity in the New Year. ©Lorraine Caputo

Colombia has a bevy of traditions (agüeros) not practiced in other parts of Latin America. They believe that a sheath of wheat placed in your home brings abundant food and prosperity in the New Year. At the stroke of midnight, Colombians will walk the block with a suitcase (to bring lots of travel in the next year), count money over and again (to make it multiply), or take a champagne bath (to ensure good fortune and prosperity). They also have a number of other ways to draw wealth, good luck — and even divine the future year.

Yellow for luck in life, red for luck in love. ©Lorraine Caputo

Yellow for luck in life, red for luck in love. ©Lorraine Caputo

One custom that Colombia shares with its southern neighbor, Ecuador, is wearing yellow underwear to draw good vibes. Red will fulfill passionate desires.

Ecuador’s most unique New Years’ custom is the Viudas Alegres, or Merry Widows. ©Lorraine Caputo

Ecuador’s most unique New Years’ custom is the Viudas Alegres, or Merry Widows. ©Lorraine Caputo

But besides the fireworks and the Viejos, that equatorial country seems to have something all its own: the Viudas Alegres, or the Merry Widows. Ecuadorian men dress up as women and joyfully greet all on the streets. Why do the men do this? Some state that these are the Merry Widows of Old Man Year, so happy to see him finally gone and done with. Others say, to disguise themselves from the problems of the old year, so those troubles don’t follow them into the New Year. But you’ll see everyone, man and woman, child and adult, dressing up. Quito’s Centro Histórico streets are crowded with vendors selling everything from cheap, florescent wigs to pointy witches’ hats.

Street vendors and shops begin selling colorful wigs the day after Christmas. ©Lorraine Caputo

Street vendors and shops begin selling colorful wigs the day after Christmas. ©Lorraine Caputo

The perfect eyelashes to go along with your new hair-do. You may also pick up shimmering, pointy witches’ hats, and an array of body parts: breasts, tushes, and aprons covering the (ahem) nether regions. ©Lorraine Caputo

The perfect eyelashes to go along with your new hair-do. You may also pick up shimmering, pointy witches’ hats, and an array of body parts: breasts, tushes, and aprons covering the (ahem) nether regions. ©Lorraine Caputo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another Ecuadorian custom is to have a baño – or spiritual bath, to cleanse oneself of negative energies. Business owners also sweep their stores clean, from back rooms to the front door, with brooms made of eucalyptus, rue, chamomile and other herbs, then lock the shop up tight until the New Year.

To enter the New Year spiritually clean, Ecuadorians line up for a baño. photo ©Lorraine Caputo

To enter the New Year spiritually clean, Ecuadorians line up for a baño. photo ©Lorraine Caputo

 

Since 1988, I have spent most northern winters travelling in Latin America. I have rung in the New Year in large cities and small towns in Mexico, Cuba, Honduras, Nicaragua, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Chile and Argentina.

One scene that stays with me – that I have never witnessed before or since – are the fireworks in Santiago de Chile: The burst formed one giant blue heart, from which emerged another blue heart and yet another and yet another … Such a beautiful way to end a night of feasting, drinking and bottle dancing in the middle of a street at a block party.

In Trujillo (Honduras), like everyone else, I dodged the Bárbaro. This Garífuna custom involves a bare-chested man dressed in a grass mini-skirt, covered in rouge or grease, demanding spare change from all on the street. (The money is used for community parties and projects.) If you don’t give him even a mere centavito, he will give you a big bear hug – thus covering you with grease (or rouge).

In Havana, I spent the night with Cubans, eating and dancing to the world’s best music. At the midnight hour, the national anthem played, everyone singing along, to mark another year of the Revolution. (Yes, that scene from the Godfather II is true: At the stroke of midnight, dictator Fulgencio Batista announced he was throwing in the towel and, loaded down with millions of dollars in cash, art and jewels, boarded a plane into exile, thus handing victory over to the guerrilleros after their decisive victory in Santa Clara, under the command of Ernesto “Che” Guevara.)

In Bucaramanga (Colombia), at the invitation of the hostels’ family, I lit a candle for my next year. In Puerto Ayora, Galápagos (Ecuador), I saw the beauty pageant, in which those lovely Viudas Alegres showed off their talents, modeling and answering “probing” questions.

In Mexico, I pondered what the New Year would bring to a world on the brink of war. In Ecuador, I watched a Syrian refugee immerse himself in the local customs.

Today, let us poetically journey to these celebrations and ponderings.

May the New Year be full of Light, and wishes come true.

Safe Journeys!

 

“ … & at that hour / they are burnt …” photo © Lorraine Caputo

“ … & at that hour / they are burnt …” photo © Lorraine Caputo

WELCOMING THE NEW YEAR

(Colombia)

Midnight approaches

without a

bell toll

 

Already rockets burst

in green & white

in a red heart

against a sooty sky

The old men are dragged

to the streets

 

& at that hour

they are burnt

firework stuffing

exploding

 

& we eat grapes, one

by one

Gabriel counts his money

over & again

Rice is thrown, scattering

in the still air

Someone walks around a block

suitcase in hand

 

To welcome in a

better year

 

published in:

The Blue Hour (1 January 2013)

 

“ … blasts of fireworks / To scare away the demons …” photo © Lorraine Caputo

“ … blasts of fireworks / To scare away the demons …” photo © Lorraine Caputo

NEW YEAR’S TRIPTYCH

(Mexico)

I.

Outside the empty

streets echo

with blasts of fireworks

To scare away the demons

that lurk in the shadows

of time a’changing

 

& within this silent house

my mind echoes

Scare away those demons

of war, hunger, disease

Scare away those demons

of misery & poverty

Scare away those demons

of corporate greed

that is destroying this planet

 

II.

At midnight

the streets fall silent

I eat a grape

at each stroke of the hour

& wish

May there be no war

& wish

May there be peace on earth

 

& then

more cracks to scare

the last demons away

 

III.

Come dawn

the smell of a fire

creeps along the

abandoned streets

A police car’s red-blue-red-blue-

yellow lights silently

reflect off windows

 

Standing in the

ochre fog that slithers

past sleeping homes

& closed shops

I look for an answer

of what this new year

may hold

 

published in:

The Blue Hour (1 January 2013)

 

“& the man in the bright pink wig dances …” photo © Lorraine Caputo

“& the man in the bright pink wig dances …” photo © Lorraine Caputo

DANCE FOR A NEW YEAR

(Ecuador)

The near-midnight streets

are littered with

the frenzied sales of this day

Someone sweeps them

into large piles

& sets them ablaze

On one corner a family sits

drinking to music

 

& the man in the bright pink wig dances

 

On corners

& midways down blocks

the Merry Widows of this dying year

stop cars for coins

dancing, lying atop hoods

 

& the man in the bright pink wig dances

 

On stages decked with eucalyptus

Old Man Years slump in plastic chairs

a DJ spins, a young woman sings

 

& the man in the bright pink wig

dances with abandon

 

The midnight hour

the Old Men are dragged to

the center of those cobblestone streets

gasoline poured & set afire

 

& the man in the bright pink wig

dances with frenzy

 

As far as the streets climb

steeply up, the fires blaze, fireworks

explode

 

& the man in the bright pink wig

frantically dances

to forget he cannot go home

to his war-rent country

his family cannot get out

his uncle dies of poisoned water

a wife to be found, a family to be formed

 

Heavy smoke filled the narrow streets

stinging eyes, burning lungs

creeping past shuttered shops

creeping past the migrant indigenous

families come to the city for work

round dancing to Andean cumbia

 

& the man in the bright pink wig

dances, dances

 

poem © Lorraine Caputo

 

Another year ends, another yet begins. ©Lorraine Caputo

Another year ends, another yet begins. ©Lorraine Caputo

MIDNIGHT TOLL

(Ecuador)

Even before those

midnight bells ring

 

This valley resounds with the explosion, the sizzle of fireworks spiraling green, white, red sparks against the yellow-light speckled hills.

The Old Men are dragged to the streets & set afire. Eager to see this year ended, people leap over the flames, beckoning luck to come.

 

Yet I await that

new year hour to toll

 

Awaiting to embrace my future dreams

bursting, sizzling before

 

The fireworks die … fading. Silence fills the streets. Music of distant parties throbs in the land’s crimps.

The smoke of Old Man Year’s fires & of the fireworks lowers with the silence, mingling with the clouds lowering, obscuring this valley’s slopes.

 

poem © Lorraine Caputo

WHEN THE SUN STANDS STILL : 4 Big June Fests in Latin America

The stilled sun on the June Solstice. photo © Lorraine Caputo

The stilled sun on the June Solstice.
photo © Lorraine Caputo

When the Solstice comes in June, the sun stands still for three days, hanging heavy in the sky. So says popular lore, whether of the nature-based beliefs of the northern Hemisphere – thus marking the height of summer, the year’s longest day, or of the Southern Hemisphere – defining the height of winter, the longest night.

The June Solstice is an important moment for many indigenous and agricultural communities in Latin America.

June, though, also presents three other major feasts in this part of the Americas, when Saint Anthony of Padua, John the Baptist, and Saints Peter and Paul are fêted. Some places honor these saints because he is the town’s santo patron (patron saint). In other regions, it is because of an occupational or strong cultural tie.

The celebrations to Catholic saints begin nine days before their feast days. These novenas may include processions, fireworks, special masses and other events.

Let’s take a look at the four big June fests in Latin America – and join in wherever you be. And if you can’t be travelling at this time, just click on the links to experience the continent’s celebrations.

Safe Journeys!

 

San Antonio (Iglesia San Francisco, Quito, Ecuador). photo © Lorraine Caputo

San Antonio (Iglesia San Francisco, Quito, Ecuador).
photo © Lorraine Caputo

San Antonio – 13 June

June 13 is the feast day of San Antonio (Saint Anthony of Padua).

San Antonio was a 13th century Franciscan monk and contemporary of the founder of the order, Saint Francis of Assisi (San Francisco). Saint Anthony was renowned for his knowledge of scripture, and to be able to teach them through simple words and deeds.

San Antonio is the patron saint of lost causes, lost people and of the poor. On his saint’s day, small loaves of bread are passed out after the mass. This symbolizes San Antonio’s devotion to the marginalized peoples of these lands.

The most intriguing celebration to San Antonio is Venezuela’s Tamunangue – or Sones de Negro – which has its roots in African culture. It is said to have originated with San Antonio himself, during his missionary work in northern Africa.

The tamunangue is a dedication to San Antonio performed in Venezuela’s Lara and Yaracuy states. Not only is it to honor him on his feast day, but also to fulfill a promise (promesa) to him for granting a good harvest, a family request (for wishes of healing, a new home, studies, etc.) or for love conquered.

The most famous traditions are in Barquisimeto, capital of Lara State, especially in the La Unión and Los Crepúsculos barrios. The eve of the saint’s feast day is celebrated with a serenade. The next day, mass is said at the parish church in La Unión. The procession then wends through the streets, with dancing and drumming until dusk. At night, the round of dances is performed.

The tamunangue consists of the Dedicatorio or Serenade to San Antonio, which includes the Batalla (Battle), performed by two men. This is to ask the Saint for permission to present the dances promised to him.

This is then followed by a round of seven dances performed by couples: El Yiyevamos, La Bella, La Juruminga, La Perrendenga, El Poco a Poco, El Galerón, and El Seis Figurado (Seis Corrido).

 

In these two poems, I recount the celebrations in northern Nicaragua and in Barquisimeto :

A FEAST DAY IN THE COUNTRY – AND THE CITY

https://www.facebook.com/notes/lorraine-caputo-latin-america-wanderer/a-feast-day-in-the-country-and-the-city/196771497145308

To read my article about the fêting of San Antonio in Barquisimeto, Venezuela, please see:

“The Cult of the Afro-Venezuelan Saints”

http://www.vivatravelguides.com/south-america/venezuela/venezuela-articles/afro-venezuelan-saints

 

Where to catch the celebrations to San Antonio :

Mexico

  • San Antonio Tlayacapan (Jalisco)
  • Soconusco (Veracruz)
  • Limones (Cosautlán, Veracruz)
  • Simojovel (Chiapas)

Guatemala

  • San Antonio Palopó (Solalá)
  • San Antonio Suchitepéquez (Suchitepéquez)
  • Senahú (Alta Verapaz)
  • San Antonio La Paz (El Progreso)
  • San Antonio Huista (Huehuetenango)
  • Sayaxché (El Petén)
  • San Antonio Aguas Calientes (Sacatepéquez)
  • Acatenango (Chimaltenango)
  • Purulhá (Baja Verapaz)

El Salvador

  • Joateca (Morazán)

Honduras

  • Tela (Atlántida)

Venezuela

  • Barquisimeto, Sanare, Tocuyo (Lara)
  • Yaracuy State

Chile

  • Huara, Maintilla, Pica (I Región de Tarapacá)
  • Camar, Ollagüe, Socaire, Peine (II Región de Antofagasta)
  • Putaendo (V Región de Valparaíso)
  • Vilipulli (Chiloé), Huite (X Región de Los Lagos)

Argentina

  • Tartagal, San Antonio de los Cobres (Salta)
  • M’burucuyá (Corrientes)
  • Colonia S. Antonio (Formosa)

 

Inti Raymi blessing ceremony (Plaza San Francisco, Quito, Ecuador) photo © Lorraine Caputo

Inti Raymi blessing ceremony (Plaza San Francisco, Quito, Ecuador)
photo © Lorraine Caputo

June Solstice – Inti Raymi

The June Solstice marks the beginning of summer in the Northern Hemisphere and the beginning of winter in the Southern. The longest day and the longest night occur on the polar opposites of Planet Earth. In 2015, it will occur on Sunday, 21 June 2015, at 16:39 UTC. (To cipher the precise time where it will occur in your part of the world, please consult Time and Date.

In Latin American agricultural communities, the June Solstice marks the season to either beginning sowing the year’s crops or to begin the harvest, depending on the latitude.

The June Solstice is called Inti Raymi in the Andean nations of South America’s former Inca Empire. Manifestations of this celebration may be witnessed in Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia. Often they are simple, down-to-earth fiestas. However, in Saqsayhuaman, near Cusco, Peru, it is a full-out theatrical performance.

The marking of the June solstice, however, isn’t confined to just South America. This celestial event is important to agricultural communities in Mesoamerica as well. At various archaeological sites in Mexico, the ancient sun ceremonies are still celebrated.

 

This photo essay of mine about Inti Raymi recounts a special celebration in Quito, Ecuador:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.340681249420998.1073741880.187654588056999&type=3

 

Where to catch the celebrations to June Solstice :

Mexico

  • Chichén Itzá (Quintana Roo)

Ecuador

  • Mercado San Roque (Quito, Pichincha Province; 22 June)
  • Cotacachi (Imbabura Province; 17-19 June)
  • Cayambe, Sangolquí, Mitad del Mundo (Pichincha Province; 23 June)

Peru

  • Cusco, Saqsayhuaman (Cusco Department)

Bolivia

  • Tiwuanaku (La Paz)

Argentina

  • Tartagal (Salta)
  • Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego)

 

San Juan Bautista baptizing Jesus (Iglesia  San Roque, Quito, Ecuador). photo © Lorraine Caputo

San Juan Bautista baptizing Jesus (Iglesia San Roque, Quito, Ecuador).
photo © Lorraine Caputo

San Juan – 24 June

The fiesta of San Juan Bautista is dedicated to John the Baptist. John the Baptist was an itinerant preacher of a new way of interpreting Jewish scripture, predating Jesus. He baptized Jesus in the river Jordan. His arrest led to his beheading at the request of Herodias, Herod’s daughter.

In many areas of Latin America, if a man is called John (Juan), his saint’s day will be celebrated on 24 June, although he may be named for another Saint John. San Juan is the campesinos’ patron saint. He helps guard against drought.

San Juan’s day is marked in a variety of ways throughout the continent. In Ecuador, the feast of the June Solstice merges with that of San Juan. Otavalo fêtes the saint for a week, culminating the event by throwing rocks at Iglesia San Juan. Calpi in Chimborazo Province celebrates with a rodeo. In Cotopaxi communities, it is the Fiesta de Moros. Wherever you go in this Andean country, expect dances with colorful masks and lots of fireworks.

In Bolivia, Argentina and Uruguay, large bonfires (fogatas) are burned in the center of the village. Single women will do special ceremonies to find out about their future husbands.

In Venezuela, San Juan is a principle saint for the country’s African descendants. He is believed to bless waters and herbs used in healing. It is said that Simón Bolívar was a devotee of San Juan.

Venezuela’s biggest San Juan celebration is found in Curiepe (Estado de Miranda). At noon on 23 June, the church bells are tolled amidst the ceaseless rumblings of fireworks and drums. On the saint’s day, a mass is celebrated, followed by offerings, dancing and drumming. The following day, San Juan is lead through the streets to meet with the image of Juan Congo, an African “saint.”

 

Where to catch the celebrations to San Juan :

Cuba

  • Camagüey

Puerto Rico

  • San Juan

Dominican Republic

  • Baní, San Juan de la Maguana, Vicente Noble, Barahona, La Descubierta
  • Jimaní, El Cupey(Puerto Plata)
  • Playa de Güibia (Santo Domingo)

Mexico

  • Chenalhó (Chiapas)

Guatemala

  • San Juan Bautista (Suchitepéquez)
  • Usumatlán (Zacapa)
  • San Juan Chamelco (Alta Verapaz)
  • San Juan Comalapa (Chimaltenango)
  • Amatitlán, San Juan Sacatepéquez (Guatemala)
  • San Juan Atitlán (Solalá)
  • San Juan Ixcoy (Huehuetenango)
  • Olintepeque, San Juan Ostuncalco (Quetzaltenango)
  • El Estor (Morales)
  • San Juan Cotzal (Quiché)
  • San Juan Alotenango (Sacatepéquez)
  • San Juan La Laguna (Solalá)

El Salvador

  • Chalatenango
  • Osicala, Sociedad (Morazán)
  • Monte San Juan (Cuscatlán)
  • San Juan Nonualco (La Paz)
  • Nahuizalco (Sonsonate)

Honduras

  • Trujillo (Colón)

Nicaragua

  • San Juan de Limay (Estelí)
  • San Juan de Oriente, San Juan de la Concha (Masaya)
  • San Juan del Sur (Rivas)
  • Telpaneca, San Juan del Río Coco (Madriz)
  • Ciudad Darío (Matagalpa)
  • Cinco Pinos (Chinandega)
  • San Francisco Libre (Managua)
  • San Juan del Norte (Río San Juan)
  • San Juan de Jinotega (Jinotega)

Panama

  • Chitré (Herrera)
  • Aguadulce (Coclé)

Venezuela

  • Curipe (Miranda)
  • Patanemo (Carabobo)
  • Agua Negra, Farriar and Palmargo (Yaracuy)

Ecuador

  • Otavalo (Imbabura)
  • Tabacundo, Sangolqui (Pichincha)
  • Guamote, Calpi (Chimborazo)
  • Latacunga, San Juan de Guaytacama (Cotopaxi)

Peru

  • Iquitos (Loreto)
  • Pucallpa (Ucayali)
  • Tarapoto, Juanjui, Rioja, Moyobamba (San Martín)
  • Tingo María, Aucayacu ( Leoncio Prado)
  • Puerto Maldonado

Chile

  • Ticnamar, Camarones, Timar, Putre (XV Región de Arica y Parinacota)
  • Huaviña (I Región de Tarapacá)
  • Socaire, Caspana, Toconce (II Región de Antofagasta)
  • Salamanca (IV Región de Coquimbo)
  • Curacautín , Puerto Saavedra, Temuco (IX Región de la Araucanía)
  • Chiloé (XRegión de los Lagos)
  • Puerto Natales (XII Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena)
  • Puerto Aysén (XI Región de Aisén)

Argentina

  • Tartagal (Salta)
  • Cochinoca (Jujuy)

Uruguay

  • Montevideo

Brazil

  • Fiesta de San Juan en Cachoeira (Bahia)

 

San Pedro arriving by boat (Arica, Chile). photo © Lorraine Caputo

San Pedro arriving by boat (Arica, Chile).
photo © Lorraine Caputo

San Pedro y San Pablo – 29 June

29 June is the feast day of Saints Peter and Paul (San Pedro y San Pablo), the patron saints of fishermen.

San Pablo was a fisherman by trade and one of the original disciples of Jesus. He was the founder of the Christian Church in Rome and the first pope of the Roman Catholic Church.

Saint Paul was born Saul of Tarsus. His occupation with the Roman Empire was the persecution of Christians. According to Scripture, he experienced a visit from the spirit of Jesus which led to his conversion. Saint Paul became a major proponent of Christianity, and much of the surviving New Testament was written by him.

On 29 June, in coastal towns throughout Latin America, San Pablo and San Peter are paraded around the harbor in flower-festooned boats. The celebrations also include music, dancing and other cultural events. The faithful petition Peter and Paul for plentiful fishing. As a sea-faring nation, it is unsurprising that the full length of Chile salutes these saints.

San Pedro and San Pablo are also saluted in highland villages in Guatemala, Colombia and Ecuador, where rain is the more common request to the saints. For some villages, only one or the other saint is fêted, being the patron saint of that community.

In some areas, the feast day of Saint Juan (24 June) merges with those of Pedro and Pablo. In Mexico, Paraguay and Colombia, 29 – 30 June are national holidays.

 

To view my photo-essay, Fiesta de San Pedro y San Pablo, please see:

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.340683032754153.1073741881.187654588056999&type=3

 

Where to catch the celebrations to San Pedro y San Pablo :

Mexico

  • Tzimol (Chiapas)

Guatemala

  • San Pedro Sacatepéquez (Sacatepéquez)
  • San Pedro La Laguna (Solalá)
  • San Pedro Carchá (Alta Verapaz)
  • Yepocapa (Chimaltenango)
  • Chuarrancho, San Pedro Sacatepéquez (Guatemala)
  • Almolonga (Quetzaltenango)

El Salvador

  • Corinto, Sensembra (Morazán)
  • San Rafael Cedros, San Pedro Perulapán (Cuscatlán)
  • Teotepeque (La Libertad)
  • San Pedro Masahuat, San Pedro Nonualco (La Paz)
  • Caluco (Sonsonate)

Nicaragua

  • San Pedro y San Pablo (Villanueva, Chinandega)
  • Cuidad Darío (Matagalpa)
  • Diría (Granada)
  • El Jícaro, Mozonte (Nueva Segovia)
  • San Pedro de Lóvago (Chantales)
  • Puerto Cabezas (RAAN)
  • Jinotepe (Carazo)

Colombia

  • San Pablo, Mahates (Bolívar)
  • Neiva (Huila)
  • Jongivito (Nariño)

Ecuador

  • Esmeraldas (Barrio El Panecillo) (Esmeraldas Province)
  • Crucita, Manta, Jaramijó, Montecristi (Manabí)
  • San Pedro y San Pablo, Ayangue, Santa Rosa (Santa Elena Province)
  • Puerto Bolívar (El Oro Province)
  • Checa, Licán, Cayambe, Pomasqui, Ayora, Tabacundo (Pichincha)
  • Pimampiro, Cotacachi, Cayambe (Imbabura)
  • Alausí (Chimborazo)
  • La Magdalena (Bolívar)

Peru

  • Chimbote (Huáraz)
  • Chorrillos and Callao (Lima)
  • Ilo (Moquegua)
  • Ichu (Puno)

Chile

  • Arica (Región XV Arica y Parinacota)
  • Pisagua (Región I Tarapacá)
  • Valparaíso (Región V Valparaíso)
  • Puerto Cisnes (Región XI Aysén)

Argentina

  • Tucumán (Tucumán)
  • Corrientes (Corrientes)