By the time you read this, Dia de los Muertos will already be finished, but the beat goes on, especially this time of year!
The next big National Holiday in Mexico is Dia de Revolucion, on November 20, which celebrates the French-style revolution of the highly oppressed poor against the rich and corrupt rulers only 100 years ago, at which time Mexico began a semblance of democracy and equality. The legal holiday is Monday, Nov. 21.
Dia de Revolucion parade, on November 20th, features several bandas, charros, local futbol teams doing human pyramids, martial arts teams, and many kids and teens wearing Revolutionary era traditional costumes complete with fake guns and ammo, performing various routines. Adorable little boys will have moustaches painted on the faces with their moms’ black eyeliner pencils.
Nov. 22 is the feast day of Saint Cecelia, patron of music, so there will be extra classical and other music performances at the church in the evening. The excitement gradually builds every night until the actual Feast Day of San Andres on November 30.
There will be street closures during the fiesta around the plaza and church to accommodate various vending stands and kids’ rides. The Calle Zaragoza bus will not be dropping into town; you’ll need to go to the carretera to catch the westbound bus.
The whole event is off the Richter scale of fun, especially at night. If you don’t live right in Ajijic, be aware that the above is the standard Patron Saint Fiesta routine for every Catholic Church and/or town in Mexico. These fiestas are attended by most of the people in town – all ages, from babies to kids, to teens and young adults, to parents and honored grandparents. There is wonderful family fun for people of all ages! Babies and toddlers often sleep in the plaza right in their parents’ arms while the bigger kids enjoy the festivities.
The adoration of “La Virgin” in Mexico seems to be greater and deeper than that for Jesus, judging by the number of fiesta days for all the various Virgins, who are all manifestations of the Mother of Jesus. The news of the apparition of the Virgin of Guadalupe spread throughout the native communities independent of the Catholic church structure, as this event happened only about 10 years after the Spaniards arrived.
There are no public fiestas for Christmas, and on the very day, the 25th, most Mexicans are eating leftovers and resting up from the night before. Schools and public offices are closed down for two weeks over Christmas, and it is an important vacation time for Mexicans. Many Mexican Americans will be down to visit, and there will be more traffic, but all in good cheer. Mercifully, there is no “Christmas shopping” rush, as that is not a part of Mexican culture.
In all these events, the Amazing Acoustics of Ajijic provide a wonderfully rich, resonant echo of the fireworks and music throughout the town as the sound waves bounce between the lake and the steep hills. If you are too tired to go out, just visit your patio or mirador, and you can enjoy the cacaphony of a hundred house parties floating through the air, while having drinks with a few friends, if you like. It would be most difficult to reproduce this unique soundtrack in a studio.
It’s important to know that the whole purpose of the cohetes, the sky rockets, is to make noise to wake people up, especially for the morning Masses in all fiestas and to announce the beginning and end of processions. Later in the day or evening, they have religious significance as the explosive noise and light propels the prayers of the people to God. Whatever you do, please do not complain about “the noise” to any Mexicans. These are all very deeply held traditions that would not have survived if the people didn’t truly enjoy them.
When you consider the tortuous and bloody history of Mexico, and how the people have survived centuries of oppression and still managed to forge a very cheerful and festive culture, also consider that it is bad form to complain about minor things.
That said, relax, go with the flow, and have a wonderful and joyous holiday season. There is no fun in the world like a Mexican fiesta!
January will bring new holidays and fiestas, but more about that later.
Submitted by Micki Wendt-Edited and Updated by Ajijic News