Last night, I had the most beautiful dream. I was a butterfly flying around a gorgeous meadow. The sun was shining and I was in love with the butterfly king. I could feel myself smiling when I woke up. I sat up in bed, stretched, and opened my eyes. (SCREAM!) A bright red monster with eight horns was staring me in the face. I thought I was still dreaming, so I did what any person would do to a monster in a dream. (PUNCH!) I jumped out of bed and ran for the door.
It turns out, the boys bought paper mache vejigante masks from the market yesterday for the Carnival de Ponce today. This morning they got the bright idea to scare all us girls as we woke up. I’m glad they bought the paper mache ones because I don’t know what the ones made of a cow’s bladder would have looked like. I didn’t stick around to see who I clocked in the face, but it was pretty funny after I figured out what was going on. The other girls didn’t find it so hilarious. You should have seen all the sour faces at breakfast. LOL!
I should have known they were going to try something like that today. Today was the Festival of Saint James and the vejigante masks and costumes are a huge part of the celebration. You see, the different masks tell the story of good versus evil. There are several characters one could choose to play during this festival; the knight, the vejigantes, the elders, or the crazy woman. The fun part about this tradition is that it’s unconventional. There are celebrations everywhere, not just in the main street or the main square in town. There are different celebrations going on everywhere, from the mall, to the street, to the airport. Yes, the airport. There are even art galleries that dedicate artwork to the vejigantes.
I was just amazed at how elaborate the masks were. They had between three and twenty horns and ranged from the traditional colors of red, black, and yellow to baby pink and lime green. I got to see a really nice one up close because one of the vejigantes pulled me out of the crowd to salsa dance to a Celia Cruz song. I must have been dancing already when he saw me and that’s why he approached me. You would not believe me if I described how awesome he looked, so I took a picture to show you. Now imagine this waking you up in the morning!