By the time you read this La Cruz will have celebrated its annual day of the cross; “Santa Cruz” or in our instance “La Cruz”. Some love it, embrace it and enjoy… and others leave town stating it’s too loud. For sure, it’s hard on the animals, so much banging and music, sometimes to the wee hours of the night. To me it is all about the magical moments (many moments over the ten days).
As my friends and I discussed at the annual parade, which culminates the festivities; this is why we live here! We see the locals at their finest, both in dress and in spirit. They wear traditional fashions; they sing and dance both on stage and in the streets. They get together and bless their town every night with a religious parade. Best of all they include those of us that love La Cruz de Huanacaxtle as much as they do!
Admittedly the most annoying are the cuetes or cohetes; pyrotechnic noisemakers. They are shot off at dawn and dusk, I’m told, for ten days before religious events to get people out to church. Personally I think it’s just an excuse for big boys to make noise! They are shot into the air, making a very loud noise and emitting a small smoke effect at the same time. They are not pretty fireworks at all!
Speaking of fireworks – on the final night of the event a castillo (huge firework display often in the shape of a bull) standing 40 feet high, a wood and metal contraption that shoots colorful flames and fireworks into the air in the main plaza. I stand back, way back as I delight in the colourful show.
Similar to small towns everywhere, there is a parade where all participate – from the local ‘queen’ and their princesses to businesses sharing their success. There are horses, lots and lots of horse dancing in the street. My favourite is when the horses march down the beach in front of our inn. I wait for it. Those who own the dancing horses are so proud of them. Throughout the year we see them training and practicing, sometimes on the beach; always a beautiful sight. The bonding between horse and human is humbling.
Another similarity to towns ‘back home’ is that there are games and rides. Sometimes it feels we are in a parallel universe! One of the carnival games is to throw rocks, yes real rocks, at glass bottles embedded in a wall. It cracks me up. I stand back watching! A few years ago my niece beat all the guys! Her prize?… A beer for each one of them. Fun has a whole new meaning at times like these.
Although these fiestas commence in April the final day, May 3rd is the best. This is the day of the Holy Cross and our Patron saint of La Cruz day. There is always live music, folkloric dance, fireworks and lots of food and drink (and yes, alcohol is very much allowed).
If you haven’t experienced it, diarize it and consider joining us next year!