Fiesta de Cuasimodo

Trip Start Aug 15, 2007
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Trip End Jun 01, 2012


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Flag of Chile  ,
Sunday, June 12, 2011

A week after Easter there is a festival in the old part of our neighborhood called Fiesta de Cuasimodo.  According to many of my colleagues at work it is unique to Chile and even more unique to the section of the city that we live in, Lo Barnechea... the end of the valley that rests on the edge of a number of canyons that rip into the towering Andes Mountains looming high above the city.
 
In early colonial times the Catholic priests used to make private house calls a week after Easter, performing the Eucharist for the sick and the old that were not able to travel to church on Easter Sunday. The priest, riding within a carriage would bring along a variety of religious regalia filled with the blood and body of Christ.  The capsula & ciborium were kept in a portable tabernacle... if you don't know what these are, picture in your mind's eye a chalice to drink wine from (oversized cup) and a fancy box containing small, round discs of bread to eat (body of Christ).

For Catholics it results in an important collection of religious containers that are used for important practices... and for the religious Catholics of Chile it is still quite important. 

Well... being that the suburb that we live in today used to be a bit of a wild place on the edge of the Santiago Valley, one would find many bandits hiding out in the canyons, waiting to accost and rob unprotected travelers... and an unarmed priest with gold and silver cups and containers was a perfect target... so in come the local Huasos (Chilean cowboys) to ride alongside to protect the priest and his religious wares.

As he made the rounds to give the sacrament to the elderly and sick that were partially mobile... giving the festival it's name, (cuasi modo), he would be given much food and wine along the way. At the end of his journey there would be a fiesta, with the various Huaso's and others that walked along side to protect him would revel in. 

The practice is still held today... with over 1,000 Chilean cowboys leading and following the priest's carriage... with a few hundred bike riders and walkers taking the tail end. 

I always love taking in the local festivals that are still being carried on by the devout... they are always more true to their purpose... without the exploits of too much consumerism to scar them.

After we took in the festival's parade, we walked down a few blocks and took in the Sunday morning market that has become somewhat of a tradition for us.

With fresh fruits, veggies  and eggs in tow we headed off to our car and drove up the rolling hills heading into the mountains... dodging the fresh piles of horse gifts left along the way.
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