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FRAGILE FOLKLORE.



Byline: INEZ RUSSELL

Dancing once was a prime entertainment in Northern New Mexico Northern New Mexico may simply mean the northern part of New Mexico, but in cultural terms it usually means the area of heavy Spanish settlement in the north-central part.  -- but for the 40 days of Lent, the music stopped and the dancers stood still.

Meat was served less frequently during those penitential pen·i·ten·tial  
adj.
1. Of, relating to, or expressing penitence.

2. Of or relating to penance.

n.
1. A book or set of church rules concerning the sacrament of penance.

2. A penitent.
 days of Lent as well, so nortenos ate plenty of eggs.

Across Spanish Colonial America, the desire for a celebration at the end of Lent and those many eggshells combined for a singular tradition, the Baile de Cascarones, or dance of the eggshells.

Each decorated eggshell is stuffed

with confetti, and when a gentleman asks a lady to dance, he does so by breaking the egg over her head. Naturally, the most popular dancer goes home with much confetti in her hair.

In Santa Fe Santa Fe, city, Argentina
Santa Fe, city (1991 pop. 341,000), capital of Santa Fe prov., NE Argentina, a river port near the Paraná, with which it is connected by canal.
, that tradition is still going strong, thanks to the dedication of the women of La Sociedad Folklorica, who revived the custom of this post-Lenten dance before it was lost to memory. This Saturday, the 69th annual Baile de Cascarones will take place, with music by Los Musicos Coloniales.

"Culture and tradition are important to a people," said Pat Rivera, president of La Sociedad. "It's part of their history. Underneath everything is the preservation of a culture and the story that will continue to be told of our ancestors Our Ancestors (Italian: I Nostri Antenati) is the name of Italo Calvino's "heraldic trilogy" that comprises The Cloven Viscount (1952), The Baron in the Trees (1957), and The Nonexistent Knight (1959). ."

Plus, it's a lot of fun.

The women of La Sociedad Folklorica gather to make eggs for breaking and eggs for collecting. They decorate more at home, and enlist their children and grandchildren GRANDCHILDREN, domestic relations. The children of one's children. Sometimes these may claim bequests given in a will to children, though in general they can make no such claim. 6 Co. 16.  in the work, passing along the tradition as they sit side by side.

For breaking, the eggs are decorated in a simple fashion. At breakfast, or during simple Lenten dinners, the women save the eggshells, washing them out before decorating. Those eggs are less fancy, with a bigger hole at the top and funny sayings and simple colors.

But the eggs for collecting -- those are a wonder. They become more elaborate every year, say the women, who gathered recently at member Pat Gonzales' house to work on their cascarones. A small tree, festooned with eggs of every type, decorates a corner of the room. Her husband, Edward, even has a trio of political cascarones: Gov. Bill Richardson This article or section contains information about one or more candidates in an upcoming or ongoing election.
Content may change as the election approaches.
, President Barack Obama and Mayor David Coss David Coss is a U.S. politician who is the current mayor of the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He was elected to a four-year term in March 2006 after serving on the Santa Fe City Council from 2002-2006. .

"I don't remember all these years ago that we had these collectibles," said Exilda Martinez.

"The artistic ones are my brother's or my daughter's," Rivera said.

Spanish Market artist and Folklorica member Diana Lujan set down a prize for anyone bidding on the collectible eggs: A Santo Santo, New Hebrides: see Espíritu Santo.  Nino de Atocha in straw applique on a goose egg, so it's a bit bigger than the average chicken egg.

For Cordelia Garcia, decorating has become an artistic endeavor. She puts funny sayings on some eggs, dichos (proverbs Proverbs, book of the Bible. It is a collection of sayings, many of them moral maxims, in no special order. The teaching is of a practical nature; it does not dwell on the salvation-historical traditions of Israel, but is individual and universal based on the ) on others. Then, on her collectibles, she paints -- flowers, scenes, even a Blessed Mother and St. Anne, although she isn't happy with how they turned out. "They look like Valley girls," she said, calling that effort her mistake.

Another member chimed in, "I'd love to have a mistake like that."

The women trade tips across the table, giving advice on how much confetti to place in the eggs and how to loop the ribbon just right so the eggs can hang once you take them home. Some women crack the eggs (which leaves a bigger hole), while others make a tiny hole in the top and blow the yolk yolk (yok) the stored nutrient of an oocyte or ovum.

yolk
n.
The portion of the egg of an animal that consists of protein and fat from which the early embryo gets its main nourishment and of
 and white out.

"I've almost blown my brains out," Lujan said. "It can give me a headache."

The small hole is necessary for art, though. "That's when you really do a pretty egg," Garcia said.

The discussion turned to news that cascarones are now available at Wal-Mart -- $2 a dozen, but without the personal touches that make the women's eggs so unique.

In addition to cracking eggshells, dancers on Saturday will revisit re·vis·it  
tr.v. re·vis·it·ed, re·vis·it·ing, re·vis·its
To visit again.

n.
A second or repeated visit.



re
 the dances of the past -- enjoying old polkas, valsas and a favorite, the Baile de Compadres.

Every couple attending is given a mismatched apron and a tie. When time comes for the Baile de Compadres, you dance with the partner whose tie matches your apron. "In the old times, it was not only the icebreaker icebreaker, ship of special hull design and wide beam, with relatively flat bottom, designed to force its way through ice. When the icebreaker charges into the ice at full speed, its sharply inclined bow, meeting the edge of the ice, rises upon it, and the weight of , it was community-building," Rivera said. "I've had compadres I've seen downtown I wouldn't have known (otherwise)."

The gathering of families -- children are welcome -- is more community-building, a way to keep alive traditions of ancestors and to ensure that the children of Santa Fe still will be dancing in the decades to come.

IF YOU GO

What: The 69th annual Baile de Cascarones

When: 8-11 p.m. Saturday

Where: 1516 Old Pecos Trail

Cost: $8 per person, $15 per couple

Information: 983-7839, or 982-9315
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Title Annotation:Neighbors
Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Date:Apr 12, 2009
Words:770
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