Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Catamarca Poncho Festival and Traditional Folkloric Dancing

This past week Catamarca sponsored a Poncho Festival for a week.  They sold many artisan items from wood to leather to knitted items to TONS of jewelry featuring their rhodochrosite, which is mined in the Catamarca province/state, toys, flutes and other music instruments, items from metal and so forth.  It was delightful looking at everything.  We attended a folkloric dance program with a family we've been working with as 5 of their 7 children participated in it.  A couple weeks before that we attended a program featuring Margarita Palacios who was a Catamarcan woman, born in 1911, who performed in the Buenos Aires area for many, many years.  She sang using the dialect of this area and, as you can imagine, they're extremely proud and honored for what she did for the province.  She died on July 9th, Argentina's Independence Day, and they honor the death date, not the birth date of people.

Inside the foyer were displays of Margarita.  She was known as Margarita de los Valles.  The full name of Catamarca is San Fernando del Valle de Catamarca and there are many valleys (valles) throughout this region.

A girl from our ward, Daiana (pronounced Diana) Cruz was one of the dancers.  Her aunt, Ada Aguirre, and her niece, Tamara, were there to enjoy the program.  Ada and Antonio Aguirre are very involved in raising Daiana.
Yolanda Castro is in the Young Women's presidency and came to support Daiana. 

At the Poncho Festival these young men were one of the groups performing (not with the family we went to support) and we loved it and wanted to share it with you.  Their fancy footwork is truly amazing.  They're dressed as gauchos - Argentine cowboys - and we saw many groups performing this dance, which is called El Malambo, but this group was truly outstanding.  Enjoy!!

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Poinsettia Bush

Have you ever wondered what a poinsettia plant would look like if it was planted in the ground and had a chance to grow and grow?  It wouldn't happen in Colorado so I've really never thought about it.  One day not too long ago I started noticing these beautiful bushes with familiar looking red flowers.  Then it dawned on me they're poinsettias!!  Of course, I had to take pictures and now I want to share them with you.  Enjoy!

This is just one yard that has these but now that I know what I'm seeing, I recognize many throughout the city.  Remember, it's also wintertime right now in the southern hemisphere so it's perfect for...their Independence Day (July 9th)?  Naw...but I'm sure it's perfect for something!  Believe me, they don't produce any poinsettias during the Christmas season.  That's when we're boiling and thinking sandals and cold sodas and hoping to get into a house with air conditioning.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

An Early 4th of July Celebration and a Catamarca Parade

We celebrated the 4th of July 2 days early - on our usual P-day - with our zone.  They came to our home and had pancakes with dulce de leche AND maple syrup.  They were happy campers.  Today's another holiday in Catamarca, celebrating the birthday of their province.  There was a parade held this morning and we went to it to see Sara and Aaron Castro perform with the youth band.

Elders Puma/Peru, Slade/UT,  Kayser/CA, Bridge/MT, Skinner/UT, and Bethers/UT are anxiously awaiting their pancakes.
Elders Marquez/Chile, Short/CA, Gallacci/WA, and Bethers/UT

Elders Slade/UT (behind the flame), Kayser/CA, Bridge/MT, and Skinner/UT who was enjoying a very festive candle for his birthday, which was a few days before.

Elders Bethers/UT (in front), Goggins/GA, Kohler/UT with Elder Melendez/CA with the cameras.
Front row:  Elders Marquez/Chile, Melendez/CA, Bridge/MT, Goggins/GA, Kohler/UT, Puma/Peru, and Skinner/UT
Back row:  Elders Gilman/ID, Bethers/UT, Kayser/CA, Slade/UT, Gallacci/WA, Hermandez/Chile, and Short/CA
The sister missionaries never made it to our house for the activity and we missed them.  We got a picture of them at the next zone meeting.
Sisters Paz and Zaballa are both from the Buenos Aires area.

No parade in Argentina is complete in Argentina without their gauchos.

Next it was followed with folkloric dancers, which is very popular down here.

Aaron Castro is the smallest drummer in the back.
Sara Castro is the smaller one in the back of this picture.  She plays the clarinet.
Sara and Aaron with their instruments after their part of the parade.

We gave them some money afterwards to buy a treat.  They had these kinds of vendors all over the place.  All in all it was a very fun experience for us to watch.