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Carnival

Because what is a detoxification if you can't have retoxification first?

sunny
View Guatemalan Medical Trip/Language Immersion on dredayhurray's travel map.

I arrived for class at 2 pm like always today and Mynor was beaming. "I'm making you a pie!" "For me?" I replied. "Yes, and for me, want to help me?" he asked with a smirk.

We went to the market down the street and bought cucumbers, chiles, and avocados. He had already made the crust sprinkled with oregano and salt. Our first hour of class was chopping, frying, and finally combining the grilled vegetables with the two pie crusts into something like a vegetable calzone. Mynor knows that I have a lot of worries this week because of finding out where I will be or not be next week for residency, and I know he could read that my worried mind wasn't going to take four hours of sitting at a desk doing spanish grammer. After we put the pie to rest overnight in the fridge we embarked on our original plan of going to the Carnival.

Carnival in Guatemala is the day before Ash Wednesday. I felt privileged to go, because it is not safe to go with groups of tourists, especially in the night because part of the day is throwing eggs (either real or filled with confetti) at each other and sometimes that games get out of hand and there can be violence. The shower at my house is under construction, so I really wanted to avoid getting hit with a real egg.

Mynor and I walked to the long line of food stalls from school. The festivities take place next to the main church and the cemetery which is in the south of the city. It was four city blocks of food, games, and youth throwing eggs filled with sand and confetti at each other. It is the day before everyone gives up meat, alcohol, and sweets for forty days, so Guatemalans go BIG. Mynor and I ate the traditional Pepian plate, it is a mole with sesame seeds, onion, chiles, pumpkin seeds, and garlic with rice and a tortilla made with whole wheat. It was delicious.
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With full bellies, we perused the candy stalls with lollipops the size of your head and shiny pink and blue bags of hard candies. Mynor asked if I went to the cemetery before. I had not. We walked into a gorgeous cemetery. The sun was perfectly angled to the large brightly colored tombs. Mynor pointed out the tombs of presidents, both good and bad, and of people he knew. I noticed he spoke in present tense when speaking about people he knew who are now dead. "Yo conozco ella" "I know her." The Carnival celebrations are strategically placed next to the cemetery so the dead know that the living are celebrating life and the Catholic religion.
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As we walked home, slowly and in the sun, Mynor grabbed my shoulder and told me to look (Mira!). A group of teenagers was in the park throwing eggs filled with sand at each other and laughing hysterically. Their skin and hair was white from the sand. I liked the juxtaposition of the very living next to the dead.

For the next forty days, Catholic Guatemalans will not eat any bad food or alcohol and they will be very pious. At the end of forty days, there is a huge party in the central park. I myself am going to abstain from alcohol and sweets since I already don't eat meat. I 'm not catholic, but I love a well earned party.

To life! - Drea

Posted by dredayhurray 16:38 Archived in Guatemala Tagged carnival alcohol sweets xela fiesta catholics lent cuaresma pepian

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