We’re getting our bearings, adjusting to differences here and generally revelling in them.
Such as the delay of beginning the rush to celebrate Christmas until… well, until it’s nearly Christmas! Besides, there are other celebrations in the offing here- Dia de los Muertos on November 1 and the feast day for Mexico’s patron saint, Nuestra Senora de Guadelupe (technically on December 12th, but there’s a couple of weeks of buildup for her)- taking over the period that covers what we think of as “the holidays,” that continuum from, oh, something like Halloween until New Year’s Day, back in the states.
This photo was taken on the feast day for Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe. Notice (if you can, from my poor framing) how the mariachi are not playing for a crowd- they are singing to HER, the madonna in the shrine. Her image had been rolled out in front of the main entrance to the public market; there were flowers around the shrine, touches to her image from the reverent. A crowd gathered in front, but the combination of enthusiasm- this *was* a mariachi band- and plain respect for the saint- was really moving.
Not long after the serenade to the madonna ended here, we found ourselves next to the mariachi again- inside one of the many little lunch stands adjacent to the market. Their tone was significantly changed: no longer playing reverent odes to Nuestra Senora, they were instead teasing the women who worked in the Loncheria. The average age of the women was similar to mine- but they sang to them of their Quinceañera, the celebration at age 15 of a girl’s transition to womanhood. Oh, the blushing! Oh, the giggles! The loncheria ladies were barely holding it together while the musicians circled their stand.
The playfulness, the gear shift from reverence to fun, the human story behind it all- it’s all quite a contrast to the worship of Shop! Buy! Decorate! Buy! Another Party! Buy! Have Holiday Cards! Cook! Buy! Stress Over Whatever! Did you buy enough yet? (repeat ad nauseum) which we traditionally associate with the middle of December.
I think we’ll stay for a while.