Quasimodo (Cuasimodo) Sunday in Chile

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..one fine morning, on Quasimodo Sunday, a living creature had been deposited, after mass, in the church of Notre- Dame,”

Victor Hugo

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     Quasimodo geniti infantes, alleluia: rationabiles, sine dolo lac concupiscite, alleluia, alleluia, alleluia.

Translation- Like newborn infants, you must long for the pure, spiritual milk, that in him you may grow to salvation, alleluia.

1 Peter 2:2 

     If you are unable to attend Easter mass in Colina, Chile the Low Sunday mass comes to you, by the thousands, on horseback.  The church  celebrates the breaking of bread, the Eucharist, with those who are not able to attend Easter mass by way of a procession unlike any other in the world.

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     With the participation of over 3,000 Chilean cowboys or huasos Colina’s celebration is considered the largest in the country and since this custom is unique to Chile, the world.  In fact it continues for the following two Sundays in neighboring villages.  According to oral history this tradition dates back to colonial days when Dominican priests in an effort to offer holy communion to the disabled, elderly and ill required the escort of huasos not only as guides but as guards against thieves.

The name of the celebration Cuasimodo hails from the Catholic tradition of naming a mass after the first words of its introit. An introit being the first portion of the processional psalm chanted  at the beginning of mass.

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On this occasion the huasos do not wear their traditional wide brimmed hats out of respect for the holy sacrament. Instead they wear scarves on their heads and capes mimicking the priest’s attire. Once varied in color they now dress in predominantly white and yellow to reflect the papal colors.  These colors are also visible in the decorations welcoming the procession to each parish.

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When they do arrive you hear them before you see them. Thousands of hooves pounding the earth  accompanied by the repeated cry  of “Viva Cristo Rey” – Christ the king lives.

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There is no photograph that one can take to capture the magnitude of this event.  Any one image will only represent a moment’s worth of people passing by.  It is truly a “Holy Marathon” in that it begins at sunrise and ends at sunset.  The huasos hold the flag of Chile with one hand and a bottle of water in the other, deftly hidden under their capes so they may have a sip  while the priest gives his blessing at one of the many stops.

And then there are the children.

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All whom dress up to honor their loved one who is riding on this sacred day.  Families wait eagerly on the sidelines to wave at, take photos of and then send the children off to ride with their huaso.

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During his visit to Chile in 1997, Pope John Paul II called this holiday “…a treasure of the people of God.”  It is and one that they generously share.

Long Day

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     Amongst the 3,500 Chilean cowboys known as “Huasos” riding through town on Cuasimodo day there was a singular pink dot.
A girl who rode with her proud and stern faced father. A girl who started riding at sunrise and was now hot and tired after 7 hours of going from parish to parish. A girl who still had several more hours to go on this holy marathon.
A pink rose whose thorns the father gave room to grow instead of clipping them.

The Original Angry Birds

The Original Angry Birds by GringaDchicureo
        This is my second Christmas away from the madness in the USA.  I don’t mind not having to come up with an alibi for every fake Santa Claus posing for photos.  No sight of any so far.  There must be one somewhere, but I would have to make the effort to find him and I am not about to.  Yesterday we went to one of the major malls in the city and it was packed with people and Christmas decorations.  I stuck to window shopping and working out my biceps and triceps via tug-of-war with the youngest.  He is small enough to be stepped on, I am convinced, yet Mr. Independence wanted to sail the sea of shoppers on his own.  I watched my eldest march over to a mat in front of a very large screen and start waving his hand as though he were putting it into a trance. Soon after he was virtually launching fluffy cartoon birds at virtual wooden block castles. My daughter, insisted on pointing out every toy her friends had… hint hint.  Good for them now move it along kiddos!
     Today we did our real Christmas shopping an hour away in the village of Pomaire. This indigenous village supplied all of Chile with their earthen flatware for centuries until the more recent arrival of foreign imports.  In addition to the traditional clay pots there were plenty of other locally produced goods to choose from. I pointed out the wooden tops to the kids and said “Look, the original Bey Blade!”.  They did not find any humor in that.  At least with the wooden top if you loose the dang string you can cut off a new piece.  Then came the doll ‘Oooooooh Mommy!’squealed my daughter.  A glimmer of hope.  A yarn doll in traditional Aymara dress was simply calling her name. Next came the “Mooooom!  from my son who had attached himself to a hand carved slingshot and was not letting go without a fight.  The ladies peddling toys out of barrels marched a marionette across my youngest’s path and well, now he is marching it across the dinner table.
     I took this photo thinking how cool it was to be able fire off pebbles with a slingshot into a river.  I later instructed my child in the time-honored way of carrying his new weapon, stuffed in his back pocket.  My kids like their toys.  They are playing with their toys.  So much for Angry Birds….more like Happy Kids.