My informant is Alice. Alice is 50 years old and was born and raised in San Salvador, El Salvador. She lived there until she was 18 then moved to the United States and proceeded to live in Mexico for a short time before returning to the states.
Alice: “The festival is called ‘Carnival de San Miguel’ – the carnival of Saint Michael. It’s basically a town party, San Miguel is a city in El Salvador and there are a ton of coffee plantations around there and at the end of the coffee harvest they have this festival in the middle of the town like a big big party. Everyone goes and they get dressed up, well they used to now not so much, and dance and it’s very, very hot. There’s drinking and dancing and all kinds of merriment”
And this has been going on as long as you remember?
Alice: “This has been going on as long as I remember but there was a long period of time where people from the West of the country couldn’t go to that part of the country because of the war. So I missed this carnival for much of the time that I grew up because I couldn’t get there ecause of the war. When I came back after college I went for two years in a row. But my mother and my grandmother and my aunts and uncles all grew up going to this carnival”
Was it like a carnival here?
Alice: “No they call it carnival but its more like a big party, a dance”
What does this festival mean to you?
Alice: “It just means that it’s the end of a lot of hard work for a lot of people and you get to see everyone socially, people you know. It’s just a fun event, it’s a celebration. And depending on your age was how long you got to stay out and party. As a kid you would go with your parents and leave early but when you’re older you stay until like 4am and party. It’s like a rite of passage”
This festival, the ‘Carnival de San Miguel’, seems like a really fun celebration and like a very well known one in a small country like El Salvador where people would travel to come join the celebrations. Alice’s mother and her other’s mother all grew up going to this festival and she even claims it’s a rite of passage. All ages attend this celebration and it just sounds like one big party. This form of folklore is interesting because it is an annual celebration but they continue to do it and naturally it would change every year just a little bit, but from 50 years it could be completely different. Alice notes the change in wardrobe as people used to dress nicer to the festival. It’s also a cool form of folklore because it is something you can visually see take place and physically be a part of.