La Hora Loca

“Twenty-five years ago a Venezuelan couple rang in the New Year in Spain and were intrigued by the festivities, the costumes, the music and the happiness. They brought the appearance of the party back home in an attempt to create a new Venezuelan tradition. The pair decided to start a business aptly named “Hora Loca” in Caracas; it sells masks, noisemakers, costumes and anything else celebrants need to add their own crazy hour into a wedding reception or other celebration. Business boomed, and this store expanded to the United States. It now ships its supplies all over the world.” ~Classroom~

La Hora Loca literally means “the crazy hour.” When I first heard it, I assumed it would be loosely translated as “happy hour.” It was an honest mistake—maybe even an educated guess, albeit a wrong one.

Happy Hour?

We’re all familiar with the term happy hour. I seldom stop in at an establishment primarily to take advantage of happy hour; but I have, many times, ended up in restaurants during moments that coincided with their advertised exultant time. When that happens, the waiter gleefully announces to us that drinks and appetizers are half off (or some such promo). If I wasn’t in a good mood prior to that announcement, said decree always makes me happier than I was when I came into the joint. So the term, happy hour, is appropriate.

But, as I recently discovered, happy hour is not synonymous with crazy hour. Crazy hour has now become a part of many wedding celebrations. I was ignorant of this despite the fact that I’ve been performing wedding ceremonies like mad over the past few years. I guess my ignorance lies in the fact that I usually leave the premises shortly after the “I wills” and don’t participate in the festivities thereafter. Thus, the crazy hour concept has eluded me up to this point.

On Steroids

When I recently heard the term (at a church communications seminar, no less), I became curious and did a little research. Much to my surprise, although it might be considered akin to happy hour, happy hour it ain’t. I won’t go into the details, but I suppose it could be considered a sort of happy hour on steroids. All the in-style wedding receptions seem to have them these days.

La Hora Loca puts me in mind of Jesus’ first recorded miracle. Yes, you nailed it. It was on the occasion of a wedding reception when the bride and groom ran out of vino. Mother Mary told the head caterer to, “Do what he (Jesus) tells you,” and the rest is history.

My research tells me that La Hora Loca is a twenty-five-year-old Argentinian tradition, but my gut tells me it dates back to the wedding in Cana some two thousand years ago. I’m not sure how crazy the disciples got that day, but I’m pretty positive the other wedding guests were loving it—some to the point of not remembering it the next day.

[Dave Zuchelli is a graduate of Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and currently resides in Aldie, VA.]

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