Once a year, each town in Paraguay gets together in celebration of their patron saint. For us Yuteños, the 8th of September is our big day. In reality, it’s closer to a week of festivities since when it comes to celebrating, one day is never quite enough.
This year the fun got rolling with a huge concert in the patio of our local high school. Countless groups (well, surely they are countable but I don’t know the large number) took the decorated stage to let their music waft over the town. Although we live a good 15 minute walk from the concert, it was easy to hear the inviting sounds from inside our house letting us know the party had started.
I was excited to see Marcelo Rojas, an internationally renowned harpist, take the stage with his group. Although he has pledged a benefit concert for the good of our soup kitchen, it has yet to come to fruition due to the bitterly cold weather that swept through Yuty, causing the planned event to be postponed and my visiting parents to miss their chance to hear him. Nothing compared to the in-person experience, but I did grab a couple of video snippets to give you guys a taste of his talent.
Did you know the harp is the national instrument of Paraguay? Maybe I should learn it.
The concert started around 8 or 9 in the evening and although Isaiah and I called it a wrap around 3am, the festivities continued on for hours.
The big concert is definitely the highlight for me, but if carnies are more your thang, we’ve got that too. Tables of games. Stalls of trinkets. Ferris wheels and dizzy-ing rides. They come in for the week before packing up and heading on to the next town’s patron saint celebrations.
Thinking back on last year’s concert and other fun it was striking how much more “in” we feel now. Things are comfortable and familiar. One year is not long enough to spend in a new culture and we’re thankful for the remaining time we have here. We were even a bit taken back realizing that we too, like the carnies, will have packed up and moved on before Yuty’s next patron saint day rolls around again.