May Day (Labor Day) and the Volcano Fest

So – this past Sunday was May 1st, May Day. It is equivalent to our labor day, celebrating the workers, and celebrated on May 1st throughout the world, except in the United States, where it is celebrated in September.

My friend Magda is part of the faculty in the nursing program at the University of Colima, so I accompanied her to Colima City to watch the parade. There must have been thousands of people there, people as far as the eye could see, and each union represented by a different color shirt. For the faculty from the medical field at the U. of Colima, it was a sea of pink shirts and tan caps, along with banners stating “Vamos unidos en la lucha contra cáncer” (We are united in the fight against cancer) along with a pink ribbon. I met a lot of wonderful people there – faculty and paramedics. Two of the faculty decided they wanted to learn English, so we will be arranging time to get together and I will help them with English and they will help me with my Spanish.

There was also a very long procession of caballeros, men on horses, as well as at least two young boys on burros.

The parade marched throughout Colima and finally came to a big hall where lunch was served, a band played music, and the governor appeared and gave a speech.

In the evening, there were 4 of us who attended a performance of Xochicuicatl Cuecuechtli Opera in Náhuatl – a contemporary opera exclusively in Náhuatl language and with autochtonous Mexican instruments based on a poem of the same name written in the 16th century. You can Google it and read a translation of the poem. On the wall above the actors and musicians was a translation in Spanish. It was beautiful, moving and unique, but definitely not something for young children to see. I believe the idea was sex as a metaphor for life…..

After the opera, we had a light dinner at an Italian restaurant, on a balcony overlooking the jardín (the town square). Two of our friends decided to call it a night at that point, but I am glad Magda and I decided to stay, as there was a performance by Zaikocirco, a musical group in fantastical costumes, as well as people in costume dancing on stilts. I was absolutely amazed and how they maintained their balance, whether walking or dancing. their heads must have been about 15 feet in the air.

Magda and I were fortunate that a woman in the front row invited us to sit with her, as she had two empty seats beside her. It was dark, and they moved so fast that it was difficult to take good still pictures, but fortunately, I now know how to take video, post it on You Tube and then post it here…

So it was a very full day, and my feet hurt when I got back home, but it was well worth it.  Yesterday I went to see the “Exposición fotográfica ‘Arte y Fuego'” – the photographic exposition “Art and Fire” which is photographs of our famous volcano.   Absolutely amazing photographs taken by people who obviously were at the right place and right time with their cameras.

Last year, I believe around June, the volcano had an active explosion which actually blew out one side of the caldera, and you can now see a v-shape at the crater where it blew out. There are pictures of the explosion, pictures of lightning striking within the gray ash-cloud, photos of the bright red lava at nighttime, time-lapse pictures of the volcano at night, with the motion of the stars forming bright circles in the night sky.

Tomorrow night will be the mariachi band Mariachi Nuevo Tecalitlán. Saturday morning will be the Colima Biker Exhibición Stunt, which will be exactly as it sounds. Ordinarily, it would not be something that I would want to take a 7am bus to get to, but my son Michael Green did once own a motorcycle and is still very much interested in these things, so I will be there for him, taking still and videos. Saturday night will be a performance by the Ballet Folklórico de Antioquia, Colombia.

The festival ends on Sunday with a youth band, dancing and mariachi, and in the evening a battle of the bands (Guerra de Bandas Colimenses) followed by a performance by the singer Natalia Lafourcade.

All in all, a very full week with lots of activities and entertainment. Hope you all enjoy the photos and videos. ¡¡Saludos!!

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