Wednesday, June 09, 2010

And now for something completely different

Today I went with two Caritas staff members and a recently arrived “cooperante” from Progressio to Plan de Socorro.

Fernando, the cooperante, a Colombian who has worked for Progessio for several years with indigenous groups in Ecuador, will be with Caritas Santa Rosa de Copán for at least two years. His role is to help Caritas as a sort of in-house consultant. Progressio, a British based organization (which used to be called the Catholic Institute for International Relations) provides well-trained professionals to help organizations in many parts of the world.

But what was most interesting was a conversation in the pick up on the way from Plan de Socorro on, believe it or not, courting practices. The discussion started while noting the limited opportunities for young men and women in their rural home villages to find suitable mates.

Ismael, from Esperanza, Intibucá, told of one custom there. On Sunday many of the indigenous peoples come into Esperanza for the market. The fathers carefully watch over their daughters. But the young men have found a way around this to indicate they are interested in a young woman. As they pass through the market they furtively give a peach (durazno) – to the young woman they are interested in.

Ismael mentioned that he knew someone who once bought a dozen peaches and went through the market passing them out. ¡Que pícaro! What a rascal!

The other custom comes from Guarita, Lempira.

If a young man wants the hand of a young woman he will throw a handful of firewood at the house of the woman sought after. If the firewood is used within two weeks, that means that his offer is accepted.

Fernando and Ismael re talking about collecting these and other like stories of courtship customs in the western part of Honduras, publishing them and then having me translate them into English for publication. Sounds fun. But I told them I’d publish them in my blog tonight and they seemed to have no problem.

Watch for later installments.

1 comment:

Kristen said...

How fascinating! As a recently (well, 4 years) married person remembering my own "dating" and as one who has read a lot about historical courtship, I am really interested to read more about this!

The idea of handing a girl a peach reminds me of a Chinese tradition I read about where the mothers of two children get together and go though an elaborate (and "scripted") tea ceremony, where the acceptance of a bag of candy is a sign that a young person's suit has been approved...

I am anxious to read more in the future...and to add the prospective book to my collection! :)