Quasimodo Sunday

23 April 2006
10:30 PM

Quasimodo Sunday
Chilean cowboys, or huasos, accompany the parish priest to the houses of sick parishioners.

Today in the Catholic Church is Low Sunday, also known as Quasimodo Sunday (for those interested in why “quasimodo,” Wikipedia has the answer). As a Catholic and a (mostly) honest person, I must admit that I had no idea. Not until three weeks ago had I even heard of the event. But go figure—it’s apparently a recognized Church festival.

On Quasimodo Sunday, the first Sunday after Easter, a priest from the parish goes house to house delivering communion to sick parishioners. Here in Chile, the priest is accompanied by dozens of huasos (cowboys, pronounced wah-so) on horseback and a lively procession. The huasos’ presence is a matter of tradition nowadays, but originally the escort was a matter of security; you never knew what dangers lied in wait for roaming priests with chalices of gold and so forth.

This morning at about 11:00am, I heard the approaching horses and rushed to see the event. A nearby neighbor of ours is ill, so the procession stopped practically in front of our house. While Fr. Fermín made the visit inside, mean and women dressed in traditional huaso garb waited patiently on their horses. A few minutes later, they were off again, trotting down the road (see video).