Borracho means “drunk” in spanish. I wasn’t drunk, but the entire village of Todos Santos Cuchumatán was. To be more specific, the entire male populations of Todos Santos was drunk. Very drunk.
I met up with some friends, old and new, and traveled across Guatemala to this village high in the mountains to take in the festivities of this annual festival which is centered around All Saint’s Day on November 1st.
In the village, alcohol is banned, but everyone bootlegs it in and gets wasted. The town is crawling with men in traditional mayan outfits and they’re all stumbling around, wooping and hollering and probably telling their buddy “I love you, man” in Mam, the mayan language spoken in the region.
The highlight of the weekend is the horse race on November 1st in which the entire town lines up along the sides of a street and the men sprint back and forth on horses.
All day long.
In case you’ve forgotten, the riders are blind drunk. I’m putting together a video of the event, but here’s a few photos to hold you over until then.
Todos Santos, the night before.
“Look, Ma. No Hands!”
Recognize this guy?
I didn’t get the full experience, as I was completely sober. But it was invigorating nonetheless.
I had a wonderful time. The people were incredibly hospitable, if a bit drunk. I didn’t know what to expect as I had heard many stories about a Japanese tourist who was killed by a mob in the very same town back in 2000. I had one drunken man threaten to punch my camera but then he stumbled backwards into a crowd of dancers and I quickly moved on. The town had some really nice houses and many of them looked very American. I did a bit of asking around and found out nearly every man in town had gone to the US illegally to work and that much of the town was built on remittances from the US. I also met two different men who had lived and worked in Grand Rapids, Michigan, my hometown. Both had spent time working in the former Ada Beef Company slaughterhouse, which is now a park where I used to go for walks with my parent’s dogs.
El mundo es pequeño. (It’s a small world)