Sunday, March 8, 2009

Vendimia Celebration (Most Important Time of the Year)

Vendimia is a celebration of the grape harvest. It is an event that brings tourists from around the world. There is wine tasting, beauty queens, parades, concerts each night in the plaza, a huge program at the amphitheater, and nightly fireworks. These office Elders came to keep us laughing, (Elder Salmon, Stevenson, Williams), we bought cottom candy, and princess crowns (for Sister Jarvis, Brown, and myself not the Elders).
Each province of Mendoza was represented with their own colorful traditional clothing and beautiful horses. There were probably around 2,000 riders in the parade.
This picture was taken from our home, we just happen to live on the parade route. See the children with the baskets tied to a stick. That is for catching fruit being thrown from the floats.
Of course no parade is a parade without soldiers with guns! Well, these guns wouldn't hurt too much, I doubt they work. These soldiers are a representation of those who came into the valley in the early 1800's with San Martin from Chile. They battled against Spain to free the country. They had representations of the old canons and San Martin himself rode a mule looking horse to start off the parade. He was dressed in a gaucho hat and poncho. San Martin is probably the most important person to the people here in Argentina. There are busts of him in every city.
Notice the length of hair, the ropes, and knives tucked in their belts in the back. These are not the Rough Riders of Provo, these are REAL cowboys (just kidding RR's).
Traditional gauchos of Argentina were working cowboys who herded the cows in the pampas (grasslands) and were also hunters. This gaucho would represent the northern region. You can tell by his face that he is proud of his heritage.
There were numerous father and sons, some even younger than this boy. They each were well trained and efficent riders. You could tell they were raised on the back of a horse. It's hard to see, but the father and the son have light colored eyes. Very typical of the Europeans here in Mendoza.
Yes, there were even princesses. This picture is for my granddaughters. There were a few young ladies in the parade riding with their long skirts, a few rode side-saddle.

This is an example of their floats, pulled by semi trucks. Not exactly the Rose Parade, but it was colorful. Each of the 13 provinces had their own float and royal court. The young ladies threw grapes, plums, apples, melons from their floats (which ever fruit was grown in their area).
If you notice the horse poop in the street, you will understand why they needed those stilts (just kidding). If you would see the faces up close you would see that they were pretty scary guys. The kids loved them.
This picture is for my mom. This float made me chuckle. They had a float for the queens from years past. They each looked like they were really having a great time. These lovely ladies gently handed the fruit to the people, none of that throwing the fruit and having it land splat on the ground and go to waste.
As you all know Argentina is know for it's beef, well the other meat that they produce and sell is goat meat. It is popular in this region. Inside our mission boundaries is an area called Malargue. Each year they have a goat festival and kill and eat over 2,000 goats. This is the traditional way to cook and smoke the meat. Every fine restaurant in town has a window on the street where you can pass by and watch them barbeque their meat.


Tara said...

I bet dad got ants in his pants when those horses walked by! What a neat parade.

Sarina Thomas said...

Wow! I am so sad that I missed this!

Julie said...

The woman on the grape float looks just like your mom.

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