April 30, 2015

The Fiesta

In the barrio of Ramones, the feast of the patron saint is held after the harvest season. Originally, the feast is the celebration for a good and bountiful harvest. It was a tradition that the people have followed through the years. The people give a part of their produce as a gesture of gratitude to the patron saint. The more they made that season the more they give away. The accumulated donations were distributed to the less fortunate citizens who made very little if at all.
 Unlike other barrios which offer the produce at the foot of their patron saint in the middle of the town plaza, the people of Ramones gather theirs by putting a basket full of produce in front of their houses to be collected by someone assigned by the elders and to be distributed to other families the next day. The people believed that their generous and miraculous patron saint is pleased with what with they do because they continue to enjoy the bounty of their land.
Time passed and the elders died one by one leaving the younger people of Ramones to continue their tradition. But as the younger ones married people from other barrios, the tradition has begun to be modified. The simple wooden statue of the patron saint was dressed in purple and golden robe. From the plaza, it was housed in a glass case inside the church where only the churchgoers would see it. It was polished to perfection and was kept like an expensive doll.
Every harvest season,  those who made much would spend much. But unlike the olden times, they don't share them to the poor, instead, they consume what they can and the rest would go to waste. For them, the fiesta was a time to celebrate, and how else to celebrate but to prepare a lot of food and drink a lot of liqour. They engaged to merry-making, eating, drinking, singing and dancing with no concern to the work they needed to do the next day.
Meanwhile, the less fortunate people would hound the stores for loans. For some reasons, they believed they had to prepare something for the fiesta in the misguided belief that they had to appease the patron saint to give them good harvest next year. They would spend every cent they have to prepare something to eat and drink. Consequently, they end up deeper in debt than before.
 Housed in its glass case inside the quiet and deserted church, the patron saint stood immobile. Its wooden arms raised in a sign of peace and its open eyes unseeing.
 A week before the harvest season, a strong and catastrophic storm razed the barrio of Ramones. For hours, the wind have swept everything in its way leaving deathly scenes of profound loss and grief, roofless houses, uprooted trees, drowned animals and destroyed crops. The people were in agony. 'Has their patron saint deserted them? Have they displeased him in any way?'
As one, they went to chuch and found a shocking scene. The church roof fell and crashed onto the glass case housing the statue. With its purple and golden robe in tatters and its surface dirty and rough, the patron saint was fine. Its arms were raised into the heavens as if in gratitude to God for delivering every single citizen of Ramones from death.
The people were humbled. They knelt down in prayer thanking the Lord for keeping them safe and asking Him to help them get through this terrible time.
 That afternoon, the people of Ramones moved in unison. They grouped themselves into committees assigned to various tasks of cleaning the barrio, gathering animals, fixing roofs and posts and preparing food. They gathered all the food they have left and distributed among themselves so that everyone would eat. And for the first time after so many years, they had a real fiesta. They finally realized the significance of their tradition and finally lived according to the belief of their barrio.
(Original story by the blog author. Any similarities with other stories, fiction or otherwise, are purely incidental.)

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