We have been spending some time in Shilla visiting with the women’s group, so we went up earlier this week while people happened to be preparing for the fiesta. We were invited to attend the fiesta by one of the sponsoring families, so before the beginning of fiesta we helped peel potatoes and one of the students helped butcher a cow in preparation. The sponsoring families are responsible for feeding the entire community; however, many people in the community provide food and help as it is a major task. We arrived for the first day of the fiesta, and oh what a fun day it was! All of us girls were told to wear polleras as it signifies that we are ready and willing to dance.
Each sponsoring family has a band associated with it, our family’s band got either second or third at the battle of the bands event (but none of us remember which it was). The family we were associated with invited us into their circle and all of us girls danced the majority of the time (not lying about the power of a pollera). Later on in the day, it was time to get the clothes for the dressing of the saint ceremony. A few of my friends and I (along with many other people), danced up these giants hills as the band played behind us. Once we arrived at our destination, we were given drinks and then the clothes were gathered and down the hill we went again towards the plaza.
The entire energy of the community was amazing, everyone was so welcoming and fun…they made us feel like we were part of their community. We then marched to our sponsoring family’s house where we were all fed this amazing soup and then rice, meat, and potatoes dish. We mulled around talking to some people until we were invited to go to this sort of house party where the band was playing. That part of the night was the most fun, there was so many people inside this house and everyone was just dancing and drinking! It was such a fun night. The festivities continue on for about Saturday with different events on different days.