In the lead up to new year, the locals here in San Pedro have several events on the basketball square, involving music, raffles, basketball competitions and much more.
We decided to check out what was happening on new years day, having been told by our Spanish teachers and family that there would be muchos dancing and people dressed in costume and masks. We stood with crowds in the square, waiting for something to happen, while they called out raffle numbers until suddenly music began to play and we could see a band had arrived on stage.
Expecting a colourful scene of traditional clothes and dancing, what we found ourselves in felt slightly surreal and… um, definitely unique. With our hangovers, we felt slightly sure it was the start of our own horror movie/ living nightmare, where strange characters would dance in our faces until we died.
In the centre of the crowd appeared increasing numbers of dinosaurs, big cats, pirates, Michael Jackson lookalikes and probably most disturbingly to me, an angry granny.
I don’t think we could call what they were doing ‘dancing’ really, but ‘jigging’ might be more accurate.
Increasing numbers of these creatures kept appearing and they jigged about for over an hour in the heat until just as suddenly, the music stopped and they trudged off to the side.
It was so surreal.
What makes it weirder for us as strangers, is that the locals watching don’t move, respond or react to those probably baking themselves in the masks. The music is very lively and made us want to dance, but everyone in the crowd looks quite fed up. And yet they do this every year.
I heard that Evangelicals here aren’t allowed to dance so maybe that’s the reason. But if anyone else knows why or how this tradition began, I’d love to hear from you!!
Fun and bonkers times…