Dí­a de la Santa Cruz y el Albañil

Dí­a de la Santa Cruz y el Albañil

In Guatemala and many countries in Latin America today, May 3rd, is celebrated the Day of the Holy Cross and also the Day of the Construction Worker. The Day of the Holy Cross is known in Guatemala as Dí­a de la Santa Cruz and you can see many Albañiles (construction workers) placing an adorned cross at their current construction site.

Below you can find a fragment of the text I published last year regarding this celebration:

The legend has it that when they were unburying Jerusalem, they found three crosses, one of them larger than the other two. When some of the diggers touch the larger cross, their ailments healed and the cross were thought to be miraculous. The priests on site called a funeral passing by and the dead man’s hand was made to touch the cross and he resurrected and walked away. The cross was taken immediately to Rome, the Vatican to be precise, and a chapel was built for it. This chapel was built in record time and for this reason and for the fact that the man who resurrected was a construction worker who had died while at work a few days earlier, this date became the day of the construction worker. All of this as seen on tv, a few details more or less.

I leave you one of my favorite poems about the construction worker written and performed by no other than Chico Buarque himself. I was not able to find the lyrics for Construção (Albañil/Construction Worker). Perhaps, you can help with the translation, what do you say?

Video clip Construção performed by Chico Buarque

Construção performed by Chico Buarque

Lyrics Update: Thanks to Andi for providing the links to the lyrics of Construção.

Construction

He loved that time as if for the last time
He kissed his wife as if she was the last one
And every son as they were the only one
And he crossed the street with a timid step.
He climbed the construction like a machine
He built on the balcony four solid walls
Brick by brick in a magic design,
his eyes flooded with cement and
tears.
He sat to rest as on a Saturday
He ate rice like he was a prince
Drank and wept like he was
shipwrecked
Danced and laughed as if there was
music
And stumbled in the sky with his drunken pace;
he floated in the air like he was a bird
And ended on the floor as a flaccid lump
agonizing in the middle of the public street
And died on the highway disturbing the
traffic

He loved that time as if he were the last one
He kissed his like she was unique
And every son like he was prodigal
And crossed the street with his drunken step
He climbed the construction like it was solid
He built on the balcony four magic walls
Brick by brick with a logical design
his eyes flooded with cement and traffic
He sat to rest like he was a
prince
He ate his poor rice like it was top food
Drank and wept like a machine
Danced and laughed like he was the
next one
And stumbled in the sky like there was music
He floated in the air like it was Saturday
And ended on the floor like a timid lump
Agonizing in the middle of the shipwrecked street
He died on the highway disturbing the
Public

He loved that time like he was a machine
He kissed his wife like it was logical
He built on the balcony four flaccid walls
He sat to rest like he was a
Bird
And floated in the air like he was a prince
And ended on the floor like a drunken lump
He died on the highway disturbing the
Saturday
(Source: The Infinite Voyage)

Construcción

Amó aquella vez como si fuese última
Besó a su mujer como si fuese última
Y a cada hijo suyo cual si fuese el único
Y atravesó la calle con su paso tí­mido
Subió a la construcción como si fuese máquina
Alzó en el balcón cuatro paredes sólidas
Ladrillo con ladrillo en un diseño mágico
Sus ojos embotados de cemento y lágrimas

Sentóse a descansar como si fuese sábado
Comió su pan con queso cual si fuese un prí­ncipe
Bebió y sollozó como si fuese un náufrago
Danzó y se rió como si oyese música
Y tropezó en el cielo con su paso alcohólico
Y flotó por el aire cual si fuese un pájaro
Y terminó en el suelo como un bulto fláccido
Y agonizó en el medio del paseo público
Murió a contramano entorpeciendo el tránsito

Amó aquella vez como si fuese el último
Besó a su mujer como si fuese única
Y a cada hijo suyo cual si fuese el pródigo
Y atravesó la calle con su paso alcohólico
Subió a la construcción como si fuese sólida
Alzó en el balcón cuatro paredes mágicas
Ladrillo con ladrillo en un diseño lógico
Sus ojos embotados de cemento y tránsito

Sentóse a descansar como si fuese un prí­ncipe
Comió su pan con queso cual si fuese el máximo
Bebió y sollozó como si fuese máquina
Danzó y se rió como si fuese el próximo
Y tropezó en el cielo cual si oyese música
Y flotó por el aire cual si fuese sábado
Y terminó en el suelo como un bulto tí­mido
Agonizó en el medio del paseo náufrago

Murió a contramano entorpeciendo el público

Amó aquella vez como si fuese máquina
Besó a su mujer como si fuese lógico
Alzó en el balcón cuatro paredes flácidas
Sentóse a descansar como si fuese un pájaro
Y flotó en el aire cual si fuese un prí­ncipe
Y terminó en el suelo como un bulto alcohólico
Murió a contromano entorpeciendo el sábado
(Source: Vagalume)

Last but not least, for those lucky enough to read Spanish, I leave you with a link to the history and background information about Los orí­genes históricos de la fiesta de la Cruz de Mayo by the Guatemalan chronicler Celso Lara published by the Guatemalan newspaper La Hora.

© 2008 – 2016, Rudy Girón. All rights reserved.

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  • coltrane_lives

    Always appreciate learning new things, epecially living history that has fascinating origins. Had not heard of the Construction Worker Day before now.

  • how nice to know that construction workers who are always in danger have a patron saint!

  • Esa es una rolona vos, la escuché con Nacha Guevara alguna vez, evoca a los seres que nunca son héroes y que para figurar en las noticias, deben morir.

  • Pirata Cojo, me gustaría escuchar la versión con Nacha Guevara… tal vez me la pasas cuándo vengas a la Naranja Pelada o El Pelicano Dorado.