Chapter XI: About volcanoes and their ashes
“Back then my dear, it hadn’t only rained ashes, it actually down-poured ashes as well. The ashes began to stack up on the streets and wear down the car’s tires as you drove. It was tremendously difficult to get around by car. Walking was close to impossible, and of course, bicycles were out of the question. Many of the roofs collapsed; it was too much weight. Ashes on the ground, on top of things, underneath things, all over the place; the ashes were even suspended in the air. That may have been the worst part of it all, for people got sick in their lungs and throats! The ashes appeared in your soup and food! Even sleeping was problematic. Imagine sleeping on top of a sheet of sanding paper and covering yourself with another one! Then this black color stained everything in its path, tainting it to black. Everybody was totally and completely fed up….
“Where you least expected those miserable ashes, they would appear. It got to the point where people couldn’t bear it any longer. Then one of the priests had this great idea: he proposed to throw a party every year, honoring the Virgin. Of course, the only condition was that the volcano stopped throwing its ashes at the city. Bright idea, don’t you think? Strangely enough, the volcano quieted down and that was how the famous celebration called ‘The Shouting’ or the Fiestas de la Gritería was born. It’s still commemorated every year to acknowledge the Virgin for having rid León of the ash flow. In a certain way it allows us to remember what it means to simply sit down comfortably at the table and enjoy a delicious dish of Gallo Pinto (rice and red beans). Most importantly, to enjoy it without ashes and without breaking a tooth as you eat it!”