Sunday, September 21, 2014

Yumbel and Fiestas Patrias

September 14 we drove to the pleasant country town of Yumbel in the Los Angeles North Stake.

The early morning fog combined with smoke from wood burning stoves.

We were glad to see it was going to be a sunny day.

Trees along the highway covered with parasitic mistletoe, the native Chilean Misodendrum Punctulatum, which blackens as it dies and dries out.

A campesino with his oxcart on the outskirts of Yumbel.

Bienvenidos a Yumbel. We saw many nice haciendas along the highway.

 The Sunday farmer's market was already underway, selling decorations as well as costumes of the Huaso, the Chilean cowboy, for the Fiestas Patrias later in the week.

We wandered around town looking for the usual green-gated LDS chapel, but realized we had passed right by this large house on Avenida Los Carrera which serves as the meetinghouse. Two sisters of the Relief Society stand outside chatting.

Before the meetings, Elder Kennington introduced himself to an elder from Argentina and one tall blond Norteamericano. One of the speakers had not shown up for Sacrament Meeting, so Elder Kennington got to give an impromptu discourse on Self Reliance.

 Following the meetings, we passed this hacienda, the business of which evidently has something to do with large earthenware jars.

Yellow pea-flower shrubs blooming profusely along the highway. Referred to as retamo, broom, the plants pictured above might be of one of a handful of different varieties. These are most likely Spanish broom or weaver's broom, which has become invasive in Chile.

Monday we took the Outback in for an oil change, and saw some pretty good tires.

In the evening we went to Andrea's for haircuts. One of her weaving students had given her a bouquet of lilies for her birthday the week before. I gave her a bottle of ibuprofen, as well as the wall hanging she had admired.

Wednesday we had an almuerzo with the volunteers at the Centro and the men in the Operations and Maintenance office in anticipation of Fiestas Patrias, the commemoration of Chilean independence in 1810. Bro. Seguel provided plenty of Chilean empanadas filled with pino, a mixture of chopped beef and onion, hard-boiled egg, raisins, and olives. Manolito, who was sitting next to me, does not like aceitunas, olives, and allowed me to eat his. 

The Google search page, above, shows empanadas with Mote con Huesillo, the national drink of Chile, a sweet syrup poured over dried or reconstituted peaches and grains of fresh cooked husked wheat.

Wednesday afternoon the Kauers asked us to help with one of the elders' apartments in Chiguayante. The Bio-Bio River is high after the winter rains, and the little islands were sparkling in the sun.

This little two-story casa has housed LDS missionaries for more than ten years. Four elders live here, and it was run down enough that it needed repainting in places and a little TLC. Hna. Kauer had the elders clean up the tiny back yard while we swept, then scrubbed out the kitchen and showers, including walls and ceiling, while Elder Kauer and Elder Kennington applied much-needed coats of paint to bedroom and hallway walls. Hna. Kauer promised the missionaries she would give them her next crocheted rug to kneel on while they said their prayers on the hard brick floor. 

Thursday the Concepcion Stake had events planned all day and into the late evening for the Fiestas Patrias, part of an entire week of events. Here two members of Barrio Universitario raise the Chilean flag to the strains of the Himno Nacional de Chile, Cancion Nacional, the National Anthem.

A young couple in full Huaso dress began dancing the Cueca, but there were technical problems, so we went inside.

We are told the mens' Huaso outfits can be quite expensive, once you include leather leggings and long-shanked spurs, the manta--wool poncho--or more expensive wool and silk chamanta worn by landowners; and the chupalla, the traditional horseman's hat. Women's typical "china" dancer's dress is full-skirted with ruffles and bright colors, often with the copihue motif.

We were told this type of dress with the side slit and ruffle, worn by one of the bishops' wives, is for ease in mounting a horse, and is more likely worn by women of the upper class. I especially like the copihue belt. Huaso outfits often include the color fringe like this sister is wearing.

Following the dancing of the cueca were kermesses, open-air fair games. In the country there are rodeos and foot races, but we were in town, and the kids were playing chess.

There was jump roping . . . 

 . . . and a tug of war. It was early in the day and all the gringos were in attendance, so it turned into an international competition. Since the North American sisters were wearing dresses and heels, we preferred being dragged gently over the line by the determined Chilenas, but the Elders were made of sterner stuff. Plus, Elder Kauer is twice the size of many Chilean men, so they redeemed the North American hermanas by winning their rope pull.

Next was sack races, but we had been invited to the Arringtons to try out steaks on their new grill, and Hna. Arrington came up with a few cans of cold A&W root beer. So we didn't stay for the plays that would be put on by each of the five wards, and more dancing. 

Friday was one of the quietest days we have spent in Concepcion. Many people had left town for festivities in the countryside, and all the stores were closed. Saturday was also very quiet, and the streets nearly empty. The Chilean people take their Fiestas Patrias to heart, and we enjoyed spending it with them.

1 comment:

  1. I'll bet Clint could do an impromptu talk about auto-suficiencia with half his cerebro tied behind his espalda. What part of the country are the Huasos from? The Brazilian cowboys live in the south of their country. The enthusiasm of the bishop's wife in traditional dress is so cute. I liked how the adults participated in the games. Oh, and thank for the Oxcart song stuck in my head now.


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