The ultimate rebel, this guy is breaking all the rules. He is holding in his bare hands a really big cylinder of gunpowder wrapped in a piece of paper, and it's on fire. And he has a box of matches in his mouth, a mere foot or two from the gunpowder, which, to reiterate, is on fire. And in his other hand is a burning match. So, in sum, something is on fire in each of his hands, and he has a small bomb in his mouth. And I am sitting a few feet from him taking pictures, so there are two people in this story who are stupid.
Each year on September 15, Central America celebrates its independence from Spain -- this year marked 194 years. We happened to be in Leon, Nicaragua. I find it interesting how different countries celebrate independence in different ways, and what they have in common as well.
Leon bustled all day long with parades, colorfully-garbed marching band members, and food and games in public squares. This wasn't all that different from a typical Fourth of July in the United States. Nicaraguans, however, seemed to infuse their celebrations with more religiosity than Americans. Morning mass appeared to be lightly attended, but the city's churches and cathedrals overflowed with worshippers for evening mass. We observed at least a couple processions of worshippers, led by priests, chanting, braying on brass instruments, pounding drums, and carrying icons of the Virgin Mary through the traffic-choked streets to the packed churches, where they deposited the icon on the altar as part of the ceremony. Bottle Rocket Boy pictured above appeared to have been part of one of the processions, as he would hustle with his bundle of rockets ahead of the group to the next street corner, then light off four or five rockets so they exploded high in the sky as the Virgin Mary passed beneath.
It was a pretty great, festive day to be in Leon, as long as you ignored the graffitti in Revolution Square that read, "Death to America, the imperial invader." Other than that, totally festive!