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Fiesta de la Capilla in Ocotitlan

Written on: Wednesday April 16th, 2008

A journal entry from: North America in our Camper Van!

We received yet another invitation from Candida to join the family for another event. With my limited Spanish, all I understood was that there was going to be a big hike up a mountain and at the top there would be a many people and food. We accepted. We arrived at Candida?s house at 11 am and were greeted by her two daughters, Veronica and Maria, whom I would guess are about the same age as Rob and I. Off we went, first through the village of Ocotitlan, then into the woods along a rough trail that started to climb steeply. And we climbed, and climbed some more. All along the way, more and more people started joining the hike until I realized that we were in some sort of a procession up the mountain. Veronica explained to me that we were going to ?la Fiesta de la Capilla?, and with my handy little pocket dictionary I discovered that we were going to ?the Chapel Festival?. And sure enough, an hour later we arrived at the top of the mountain and came upon a tiny Chapel. There were quite a few people already there. Some were decorating the chapel, others were lounging and enjoying refreshments and many women were scattered in clusters and were busy cooking up tortillas on large pans over open flames. The horses and donkeys lined and tied- up along the treeline were indicative of the amount of supplies that had been packed all the way up here. We sat around and waited? and waited? and waited. People continued to pour up the mountain. An entire band arrived carrying their instruments including several trumpets, guitars and a huge drum. I finally asked Veronica what we were waiting for. She explained that the priest that would be saying mass was also going to hike up the mountain, but that he was from a different district and would come from the other side. His hike would take over 8 hours. Not five minutes later I heard some commotion and an entourage of people emerged from the trees on the other side of the chapel. People started clapping and several fire crackers were lit and fired-off into the sky. Rob and I shuddered at the very loud ?bang!?. We then both noticed the size of the bag that they were drawing the fire-crackers from and cringed at the thought that they were likely to light them all? Shortly after the priest and his entourage arrived, everyone gathered standing below the enclosure in front of the chapel. From the numerous catholic masses that I had attended growing up, I could follow what was going on pretty well, even if it was all in Spanish. After mass had ended the band started playing loudly and it was evident that everyone was now preparing for the big tortilla feast. Looking down at our watches it was nearly 4 oclock. As today was our last day in the region, we decided to head back down the mountain and get back to packing and preparing for our departure tomorrow. As we hiked home, I thought of the priest, who would be starting the 6 hour hike back down the mountain shortly.


From Nikolay on Jun 18th, 2009

Wow, and to think I can say "I knew him when . . ."