Saturday, December 8, 2012

La Purisima

At this time last year, we'd only been in Nicaragua about 5 weeks, so I was pretty much brain-dead when it came to participating in any Nica holidays.  Not so this year!  Thanks to a very good friend, the Mini-Menace and I were invited to celebrate La Purisima with her family.  Armed with a map and smartphone photos of key landmarks, we set off to meet up with Rosa in her mother's neighborhood.  Driving to a new destination in Nicaragua is always a challenge for me, since I'm clueless and the address system here is....well, really awful.  I'm sorry, but there's just no way around it.  No street names, and directions are based on landmarks that may or may not still exist? Nevertheless, Rosa knew exactly how to help the poor gringa driver, and we actually made it--in the dark!!--with no problems at all. 

We walked around the neighborhood with Rosa and her family--her sons, assorted cousins, nieces, etc.--and stopped to sing a few songs at the altars to the Virgin Mary that various families had set up in front of their houses. 

The occupants gave out all sorts of food, candies, sugar cane, chicha, nacatamales, plastic housewares...honestly, it was more than a single person could carry without a sturdy bag.  No plastic grocery bag was cutting it--mine was bursting at the seams by the end of our route. 

Whenever we'd arrive at a new house / altar, someone would call out "Quien causa tanta alegria?" and the rest of us would respond "La concepcion de Maria!".   After we sang a few songs, Jorge (Rosa's 7 year old) would shout "Una iglesia sin Maria..." and we'd all shout back "No es iglesia todavia!".  Basically, it means that a church without Mary still isn't a church.  Take that, Jesus!!! 

It was a pretty awesome night, especially because the neighborhood was small, very safe, and the kids could run around and play outside with no traffic, no random strangers on the street, etc.  And I got to sit and watch the Mini-Menace wear his butt out and almost fall asleep in the car on the way home.

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