La Asunción de María

It’s been a whole year already. Today was the Gritería Chiquita again. Legend has it that 67 years ago (or maybe 68, but who’s counting anyway?) Cerro Negro volcano had been erupting for 15 straight days, the roofs couldn’t support the sand anymore, and the crops were all but dead. Then, on August 14, the day of The Virgin Mary’s Assumption to Heaven, she quieted the volcano and saved the city.

So to celebrate, they play horrible music on repeat, all day long, set up altars to the Virgin Mary, and basically go trick or treating. I’ll save my views on rich families giving hand outs to poor families bused in from the countryside for another post, but it is fun. My host family is the family on Halloween that gives out pretzels, or baby carrots. They “tirar” pencils, pencil sharpeners, soup mix, matches, and ketchup. They say it is so that the families can provide for themselves during the year. Most houses just give out candy, but you can get all sorts of stuff during the Gritería. I’ve seen tupperware, salt, bananas, pineapples, and even nacatamales.

Here’s a video of the evening, as seen from the front gate to my house. It’s big on noise:

Sometimes it is very cool living in the oldest European-founded city in the Western Hemisphere. La Gritería is definitely one of those unique traditions from around the world, in the likes of the running of the bulls and the Songkran water gun fight in Thailand (both of which I would like to see in my life).


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