Colours, ingredients and herbs

Chapter 2… The García girls’ wedding


The bicycle The Merced Church, Leon, Nicaragua
The bicycle
The Merced Church, Leon, Nicaragua

Fully replenished, they danced until dawn, receiving the brand new day in the best of moods. Enabling them to recover their strength, the waiters began to serve the scrumptious fresh red snappers, stuffed with fried shrimp and the typical Gallo pinto (the most Nicaraguan of all the plates presented thus far, a typical combination of white rice and red beans, found every day in any home, in the country or in the cities).

The tables were decorated with the guacamole and the different salsas which were served in assorted flavors and various colors. All of them were most definitely spicy hot, as prepared by Petra. She was a Mexican woman, who came from Oaxaca, Mexico and now, lived at Moyogalpa, on the Nicaraguan island of Ometepe in the south. With her five beautiful daughters, they handmade the fresh tortilla cakes from blue and yellow corn. Freshly done, while hot and still giving off the warm vapors, they were presented in small weaved baskets, made of reed and carefully wrapped in colorful cloths, so they would remain nice and warm. As it turns out, that night three of her daughters met their future husbands, while they were handing out the tortillas, strengthening the bonds between both countries.

 


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Un unsurpassable wedding

Chapter 2… The García girls’ wedding


Sunset in the Nica Coast Playa Las Peñitas, León, Nicaragua


It was during that light that filled the skies, that indescribable blend of colors, the precise moment when the Sun decides to set itself down to rest and bathe the world in its splendor, with a marvelously still warm light, that the piglets were served. Specially brought in from the mountainous lands of the eternal spring, near the northern city of Matagalpa they brought on the oohs and aahs. Impossible to think of such a great circumstance without their presence! And perhaps a little tired from so much dancing and dining, the guests then took to their tables, to sit and feast the palate with the sweets and the buns made from goat milk, while they recovered their energies and refreshed themselves for a spell.


Meanwhile, the evening was enlivened with a local group from the neighboring city of Chinandega and the picaresque mood set by their songs. The banquet proceeded until the arrival of the witching hour; at which point, the musicians from the Atlantic coast entered the halls to the beat of their highly explosive and contagious rhythms, interweaving them to a background of fireworks, the colorful explosions and that distinctive smell of the gunpowder, as it hung in the air.


After so many years people still rave about it. Some swear upon their mother’s grave, while others, prefer to vow by the Virgin Lady of El Trono; but as all completely agree, the fireworks displayed during that unforgettable night, such a long time ago, have never and will never be surpassed.

To the tune of the industrial quantities of Centennial and Solera rum imported from Guatemala, and by the way, the musicians, exclusively brought in from the capital city of Managua, and afterwards followed by an incredible folkloric group from León, the gathering was to say the least, enthusiastic and at its utmost, so much so, that absolutely everyone danced nonstop until the sunset.

 


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Two weddings for the price of one

Chapter 2… The García girls’ wedding


Historical Centre Granada City, Nicaragua
Imagine          Historical Centre Granada City, Nicaragua

The two bishops said, but mostly sung, the double wedding ceremony. Previously, they carefully tuned their voices at a small and intimate toast, while the eighteen altar boys, took turns to dress them in their solemn clothes before the service. When they officiated, they were accompanied by the chamber quartet brought in from Managua, and by the angelic voices, of the sisters from the choir, of the Convent de la Merced, who came from nearby León. They still say, that there were so many personalities attending the wedding, that there was almost no space left over, not even for the Holy Spirit.

When the religious ceremony was over, they then relocated by horse-drawn carriages, parading down the streets to the banquet. To begin with, they served the delicious plates of the famous Honduran mondongo, a spicy stew, very rich, made with the cow’s stomach, which was brought from Choluteca City, in the neighboring country of Honduras. They served the mondongo, along with salty donuts, called rosquillas, that are a bit crispy and at the same time quite crunchy, typical of the Municipality of El Viejo, where the banquet was being held. Their freshly baked aroma had invaded the banquet hall, filling the air everywhere you turned.

To the tune of the industrial quantities of Centennial and Solera rum imported from Guatemala, and by the way, the musicians, exclusively brought in from the capital city of Managua, and afterwards followed by an incredible folkloric group from León, the gathering was to say the least, enthusiastic and at its utmost, so much so, that absolutely everyone danced nonstop until the sunset.


Versión en español            In the land of volcanoes’ Chapters           Purchase the book

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Talking about wines and weddings

Chapter 2… The García girls’ wedding


Commemorative mural Historical Centre Lon City. Leon, Nicaragua
Commemorative mural
Historical Centre Lon City. Leon, Nicaragua

The beautiful colonial church, which dated back to the 17th century, was decked with hundreds upon hundreds of orchid flowers. These had been brought in from Montenegro, in the neighboring mountains in Costa Rica. There were so many flowers! I’ve heard it said that as their fragrance reached out, all the way, to the nearby city of Chinandega, everyone rejoiced and felt young once more. The people flocked outside of the buildings, filling the empty streets, as they relished the delicate aroma in the air. There, they basked in the warm sun, delighted as they felt young for one last time, and they relived, if only for a fleeting moment, that lost spring-time of their life.

The Godparents: don Jairo Díaz, the eldest of the Díaz Alvarez brothers, known and renowned by all in the community; as well as his wife, the graceful and sweet doña Joanna García y Hernández. They had been married a few years before, in the church of Chinandega, when it was still in good conditions.

His Excellency, the Bishop of Managua celebrated the ceremony. He was perhaps a distant relative, nevertheless a very close friend of the Díaz Alvarez family. The priest of Chinandega and the parish priest from the Basilica El Viejo assisted him. He officiated together with His Grace, the Bishop of the Diocese of León (who never missed the famous lunch gatherings at the García y Hernández family’s house, and always collaborated in good spirits, when it was time to taste the wines and approve the choice of the day).


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Talking about my great-grandparents and how they married

Chapter 2… The García girls’ wedding


City streets Leon City. Leon, Nicaragua
City streets
Leon City. Leon, Nicaragua

He was the third of five brothers, and she was the third of five sisters. At the time, the main church of Chinandega, the beautiful parish of Our Lady of Santa Ana was going through repairs. Sadly, the church had sustained heavy damage during the main earthquake of 1925. For that reason, they married at the Basilica of Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception, in El Viejo, a small town near Chinandega. They were my grandfather Jairo’s parents. That was my great-grandparent’s wedding (though some of the cynics called it an alliance).

My great-grandfather’s name was Leobardo Salvador Díaz Alvarez. His family was originally from Chinandega, where he was better known as don Leobardo. Together with his brothers, they owned sugar cane and peanut plantations, and two small sugar mills in the small town of Chichigalpa. My great-grandmother was doña Eduviges Leónora Garcia y Hernandez. Her family was from the port of Corinto (the main port on the Nicaraguan Pacific), a half hour drive from Chinandega. There everybody simply knew her as doña Leónor. Even though the Garcia family was originally from Corinto, at the time, they were living in León. Their father owned huge cotton plantations close by and was successfully exporting the cotton to the markets in the United States. At the time, Nicaragua was considered as the cotton capital of Central America. People say the American dollars were so plentiful, that in the mornings, the women swept them off the streets with the rest of the rubbish. There are those who still think of these times as “the good old days”. When both families joined in matrimony, their fortunes were also tied together.


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