The last week of October in Pedasi a celebration of traditional carts called La Carreta de Bueyes or The Bullock Cart takes place. Back in the days before the automobile the carts were used by campesinos to transport their crops or tools, to haul wood for cooking and general transportation to the local pueblo.
A traditional bullock cart is made by hand using native wood and manual tools; saws, rasps and chisels. It takes several working hours to produce a cart this way, even the “rays” of the wheels are made by hand. The cart has a hard wood “bed” and sturdy side rails. The back has a rail which is movable and prevents the load from falling out. The front of the cart has long wooden poles that attach to the necks oxen by leather straps. Oxen were used because the cart was so heavy and tthey required a sturdy animal to pull it. This of course meant that the oxen were tamed and trained to pull the cart.
No too surprisingly we still see a more modern form of the cart being pulled by a horse along the highway. These carts use metal frames and car or truck tires instead of the traditional wooden wheels.
More commonly we see them in the festivals and parades such as the celebration this weekend. The wagons will be decorated with flowers, native grasses and agricultural items. They will carry queens and princesses, musicians and children. And yes, sometimes even a chicken or two. Tonight the crowning of La Reina de XI Gran Desfile de Carretas la Cultura y el Folklore – the Queen of the 11th Annual Grand Cart, Culture and Folklore Parade takes place. The bandera/flag will also be passed on to the new Bandelero or Flag Bearer who made a nice donation to the Friends of Pedasi Foundation for the honor of carrying it in the parade tomorrow.
Each town in the district will have at least one entry in the parade. The carts will be judged on folkloric origins, the traditional clothing of the participants, and the “tuna” or the musicians and dancers that go with the cart. This celebration is one of our favorites because it involves mostly locals and is much more subdued than Carnaval. It makes us feel like we are a part of the community, and most if not all our neighbors in the campo will be out for the celebrations. Stay tuned for pictures and thoughts from the weekend.