Immaculate Concepcion

Trip Start Oct 10, 2007
Trip End May 15, 2008

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Flag of Guatemala  ,
Sunday, December 9, 2007

WOW, ok I just witnessed the most amazing Immaculate Concepcion Virgin Maria celebration ever.  So, laying on my bed at 7:30 pm, feeling rather unmotivated to get up and do anything, I finally decided it was just too early on a sat night to go to bed.  I was aware of the grand fiesta but was feeling a bit less adventurous than usual.  However, leaving my room around 7:30, I found myself gravitating towards the loud bomb like noises and fancy lights of fireworks. 

I was quickly entrenched amongst a bunch of other people, extremely close to the fiery source of the fireworks.  About 4 men would take turns running up to this round red cylinder, lighting it with matches and, quickly, dashing away.  Bang one, two, three shoots of fireworks would explode.  Myself and at least 60 others were within 10ft of this wonder with children covering their ears.  As I look up towards the fanciful flags and the lit Catholic church I not only begin to notice the multiple musical bands that are playing nearby but I see a flow of people with what appears to be a float of some sort coming from the church

Wandering closer I come upon what is CLEARLY a structure of the Virgin de Immaculate Concepcion.  The parishioners turn around a corner and out she comes from the walkway leaving the church. Let me tell you, only the Catholics really know how to celebrate Maria.  She was all dolled up and on top a float covered in flashing lights of all sorts.  There was a generator with a very long cord and it was the job of some young men to hold and guide this cord as the procession moved along.  Once things had died down I continued on my way only to find a very small shrine lit up with exciting christmas type lights. Accompanied by the usual candles and frankincense and, strangely, with one of those moving motion light things of some sort of western city.  This was the reason anyone was even approaching the pine covered Mary.  They started asking me in excited Spanish if this was the United States, perhaps California.  I kept saying "yo no sť, yo soy de Arizona".  This did not sway any determination that I would know where this floating, moving city was from.

After getting some dinner and watching a 2 hour movie, I headed back to my hotel that took me past the church.  Some three hours later the float, parishioners, generator and all were just finishing the procession, returning to the church.  Also, a man I met while watching all of this wonder told me that he saw a cow covered in fireworks and a man dancing around.  I did not have time to confirm whether the man was dressed as a cow or if there really was a real cow covered in fireworks.  Pobre cow!!! 
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