culture

People In A Small Mexican Village Use Hammers And Explosives To Celebrate Their History

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The people of San Juan de la Vega, Guanajuato, Mexico have a very peculiar celebration that rocks their town every February. This is what they do:

WindItUpAndBOOM
Credit: Pierre Brown / YouTube

They SMASH bombs with huge hammers. This local tradition has been around for 400 years and it starts on Ash Wednesday, from sunrise to sunset – or until someone REALLY gets hurt.

Here’s what it looks like. First you secure the explosives to the end of the sledgehammer.

SecureTheBomb
Credit: Pierre Brown / YouTube

Then one brave soul takes the hammer to their target: a large metal beam or, in this case, a smaller piece of metal.

BraveSoul
Credit: Pierre Brown / YouTube

After finding the perfect spot, you just windup and slam it down with all your might.

WindItUpAndBOOM
Credit: Pierre Brown / YouTube

READ: Las Mañanitas is the Most Majestic Celebration We Went to As Kids

And, um, you just get up and walk it off.

DontWorryHeIsOkay
Credit: Pierre Brown / YouTube

Why do they do it? To celebrate a historic, folklorish fight over gold.

According to legend, the 400-year-old tradition began with a wealthy gold miner named Juan Aquino de la Vega who entered into an epic battle with gold-stealing bandits. De la Vega won the battle and became a Robin Hood-like around the town.

READ: Here Are How Some Latin American Countries Celebrate Valentine’s Day

The explosions are supposed to represent the moment Juan Aquino de la Vega won the fight against the gold bandits.

hammber-bomb

Sounds like… fun?

Co-author: Adriana Venegas

Would you take part in they festival if you were there? Share this story with your friends and see who you should take on your next Mexican road trip!

Guatemalans Prefer This Sport Over Fútbol

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Guatemalans Prefer This Sport Over Fútbol

CREDIT: @DANIELE_VOLPE / Instagram

Basketball has made life better. For the indigenous people of the Lake Atitlán part of Guatemala, basketball — no, not soccer — has taken over the impoverished town. So much so that as many as 800 people in s a small town gather around to watch a game of b-ball.

“It’s not like futbol,” Otto Gonzalez said as he watched his daughter play a game. “But basketball is important in Guatemala, especially in some of the towns around here.”

It’s important not only because it’s more acceptable for his daughter to play the game — unlike soccer — but because there’s a connection to juego de pelota or ball game, an ancient Mayan game where players used their thighs and shoulders to put a ball through a vertical hoop.

WATCH: Venezuelan Reporter Yuvi Pallarés Gets Naked to Deliver the News, Like Totally Naked

“Running a rubber ball through a hoop — that appeals to them. There’s a skill involved, and practice and team coordination. These are things that expand on the ancient past, so there’s a tremendous legacy there,” says Dr. Richard Hansen, an archaeologist who has studied Mayan culture in Guatemala, to the New York Times.

Since the indigenous people have long been oppressed and enslaved thus losing the chance to embrace and appreciate their traditions, Basketball has allowed them to reconnect with their Mayan culture.

“Basketball is a game where they have an opportunity to appreciate the history they’ve had,” Hansen said. “Their ancestors essentially invented it.”

Check out the amazing pictures from The New York Times here.

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