It was just before 6:00 am when the neighbors stereo blasted happy music into the air. They may have been starting early for New Years. Truly, on any given day music can fountain out of nowhere starting at an hour like this where we’re living.
Here in the country sound privacy and sound barriers are not given too much consideration. A live and let live attitude prevails, and from what I gather, asking someone to turn down their music here would be seen as more inconsiderate than actually playing the music too loud. As today is the 31st I’ll tuck this noise event in with the whole New Year’s experience. Throughout the day firecrackers go off intermittently also, so we’re inside of a sound drum all day. Firecrackers, Fireworks, are set off here both on the 24th (“Veinticuatro”) and the 31st.
Christmas Eve is considered the highlight of Christmas here, and the 25th a happy day of rest afterward. With firecrackers and music, the 24th is a big party starting after work at night. It’s like having two New Year’s Eves. During these holidays, it’s customary to eat “Panes con Pollo,” small French-bread sandwiches, stuffed with chicken cooked in a rich sauce, and veggies, like cucumber, radishes, and a leafy vegetable called “berro” (don’t know what this is in English).
For both the 24th and 31st everyone buys new outfits – shirt, pants/skirt, shoes, accessories – the whole kit and caboodle, and then they “Estrenar,” or wear these clothes out for the first time. Almost no one in the poorer segments of the populace buy gifts; that would be too much on top of the new outfits.