This article was written by one of our Second Level English students! Maria Alejandra Pastora has been studying with us for almost four years and this is her description of this Wednesday's festivities for Santa Ana.
Every year in July, in the city of El Sauce, the Catholic Church commemorates Saint Anna and Santiago (Saint Anne and Saint James). To be more precise, on July 25th, Santiago is commemorated and on July 26th Saint Anne. The Catholic Church organizes masses in order to honor and celebrate these two biblical characters. However, in El Sauce there is more to the celebration besides the masses and the fireworks. Various activities are organized/performed. Among these famous activities is the hípico (all activities relating to horses, including races and parades). Riders from different parts of the country attend, even people from Honduras and El Salvador.
Santa Ana and Santiago were two individuals that lived at the time of Jesus Christ. According to the Catholic Church, Ana was Virgin Mary's mother. This means that and Ana was Jesus’s grandmother.
James appears in the four gospels of the New Testament as was one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ; his brother was John the apostle. James was one of the first martyrs of the church and he is the patron saint of pilgrims and laborers.
For safety reasons, the equestrian activities are usually performed on the outskirts of the city on dirt roads that are unpopulated. It is common for people to bet money on their favorite rider. It is also common to sell beers such as Victoria and Toña. In the square or bull municipal arena "ribbon” there are bullfights. There are also races in which several riders run about 100 meters. In different race, the riders try they try with one hand to arrancar la cabeza del pato (pull off the head of a duck) that is hanging between two poles. The winner, being the rider who can pull off the head of the duck may be awarded up to 2000 córdobas.
In this festivities, people choose a pretty girl to become queen of the event. Later in the night, there is a big party with a musical group in honor Ana and James’s. The festivities continue with the crowning of the new queen. The queen of the previous year, crowns the new queen. After that, everyone starts to enjoy the party.
Although the activities mentioned above seem interesting, the main events of these celebrations are on the 26th of July (Santa Ana’s day). This day consists of an parade of people riding horses, following the queen of the carnival who is chosen days before the celebration. The Toña Company, who has the country’s most popular beer, usually sponsors this parade. At the end of the day, judges choose the best-dressed rider and the best horse, (the criteria for choosing the best horse are: how he looks, how he walks and his saddle).
(The Queen of the Carnival leading the way)
Keep on the look out for more articles written by our English students about their experiences and the culture of El Sauce!