Monday, December 08, 2008

Christmas Traditions in Patzcuaro

I had a nice rant session a couple of weeks ago about traditions and how they were disappearing in the US because of the lack of social interaction because the kids nowadays were more involved with the video games than actually getting outside and interacting with other humans......

One of the nice things down here is that the traditions are still around, although not as prevalent like in years past, but hopefully they will continue until I am doing my trick or treating 6 feet under....

Christmas time is such a special time, not because all the stores are selling crap, but because there is still some tradition left.

If you are dreaming of a white Christmas in Mexico, the closest you get is a frosted Margarita class and maybe a couple of white topped sugar cookies.

The Christmas season in Mexico is usually nice and warm and colorfull and here in Patzcuaro we still have a lot of green around, still have wildflowers and even though the evenings drop down to the low 30's the sunny days hover in the 70, until the sun drops down behind the trees...

There are nice traditions here to celebrate Navidad, is one of them which makes the Christmas season a nice and unforgettable experience.

The Posada

Christmas festivities begin with Las Posadas, which is nine consecutive days of candlelight processions and lively parties starting December 16.

In villages and urban neighborhoods throughout Mexico the young children get together each afternoon to reenact the holy family's search for lodging in Bethlehem.

The procession is headed by one small local child who is cajoled to volunteer to play the Virgen María, often sitting atop a live burro, led by a equally tiny San José.

They are followed by other children acting as angels, the Santos Reyes (Three Kings), and a host of pastores y pastoras (shepherds and shepherdesses), all usually decked out in colorful costumes and carrying brightly decorated báculos (walking staffs) or faroles (paper lanterns).

The parade of Santos Peregrinos (Holy Pilgrims) stops at a house that has been previously selected to sing a traditional song, where the Holy Family asks for shelter for the night only to be rejected and turned away at the first door.

They then go to a second home where the same scene is repeated.

At the third stop the pilgrims are told that while there is no room in the posada (inn), they are welcome to sleep in the stable. The doors are then opened and all are invited to enter.

Then the party starts where the kids get to stuff their faces with overly sugared candy which falls out of (what else) a piniata meanwhile while the parents down a brewsky or two.

This event does a couple of things first this is an interactive way of teaching the kids the story of the Nativity, but also that there is another occasion to party and smash pinatas and start their early life to diabetes and alcoholism.


Anonymous said...

There is a lady in what is called the "Little Mexico" area of our town and she has made it her mission the last two or three years to be sure that the children, let alone the adults, in the community don't forget the Posada. They go through their neighborhood and celebrate this ancient tradition each Decmeber. I was really happy to see this happening. Traditions teach us about ourselves and help us to be rooted and grounded. Thanks for posting about the Posada...I'll see if I can find that article in the newspaper archives and post it on my blog.

ken kushnir said...

Well thank you for your nice support! It is unfortunate to see the demise of traditions, Us those who still value and appreciate must try to support them so that at least someone could still see what they are, instead of reading about them in old history books!
Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, and do your part!