Today is the Dia de la Virgin Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico, the official beginning of Christmas celebrations, and the last day of school until after the three King’s day on January 6. I won’t recount the story of the miracle of Guadalupe here, but it is central to Mexican Catholicism. Google if you’re interested.
Government offices were closed, but commerce virtually never stops here, even on days of religious significance. The only discernible evidence of celebration we saw during the day were girls and a few young women dressed in traditional clothing. This little girl was going into a fruit and vegetable shop with her mother when we asked if we could take her photo. She shyly obliged.
The tiny chapel we walk by every time we go to the centre of the city was decorated in honour of the day and the season as well. When I say tiny, I mean it. During services, the local members bring plastic chairs onto the narrow street, leaving just enough room for traffic to pass. My photo doesn’t capture the flowers and plaques displayed to the right of the steps.
I don’t know much about it, but there’s obviously a sidewalk art contest taking place in the centre of town, and some of the work is quite amazing. All chalk, and some of it already rubbing off. Here, in front of the Teatro Juarez, is a sampling.
Yes, this is actually chalk on the sidewalk. If you look carefully you can see the sidewalk squares.
We are hearing more every day about the celebrations that will be taking place over the next couple of weeks. Most interesting—the posadas. As I understand it, beginning on the 16th, groups of people dressed as Mary, Joseph, and a donkey go from house to house in a pre-arranged search for “room at the inn.” They are told “no room” at house after house until they reach the one where they are invited in and given a traditional selection of fruits and punch. I think everyone who said “no” is invited in too, since I gather it’s groups of friends who usually do this. The scenario is also played out at churches, and we’ll try to attend some.
On the construction front, work continues at a good pace and it does seem possible that we’ll have painted walls, windows, and tiled floors by Christmas or shortly thereafter. I think I’ve finally accepted the fact that the wonderful, authentic, leather-like clay tiles I’ve been imagining won’t work for us. They are all those things, and also a pain in the neck to maintain. Tomorrow, I have to choose the next best alternative.