The Going Away Party in Ajijic, Lake Chapala, Mexico
Another delightful custom of the Mexican people here in Ajijic, Lake Chapala is La Despedida. Instead of a dinner or somber party when someone is about to embark on a new venture abroad a fiesta is held with family, friends and frankly everyone else invited.
The venue is usually decorated with Mexican flags, local flowers and anything of a Mexican flavor. The food is Mexican and ranges from tomales, tostadas, taquitos, guacamole, chicken, salads to tacos dorados and, of course, churros (the Mexican equivalent of a donut) for dessert. Naturally, there are nachos and other pickies on hand such as some green nutlike affair (named guasanas) where you only eat the kernel inside. (Perhaps you could be told this before you popped it in your mouth.)
For drinks it is tequila and squirt, beer and if you are very fortunate white wine. The music is traditional Mexican music and sometimes family member or friends will break into song or hire a Mariachi band to serenade the guests.
Games are part of this festive event and dancing is mandatory. Some speeches are made wishing the person or persons leaving a safe and happy trip. Money is sometimes slipped into the pocket of the departing person so they have currency of the country they are visiting on hand.
The purpose of La Despedida is to leave the person with wonderful warm memories of all that is beautiful about Ajijic, Lake Chapala. Of course, the weather is warm and scented with all kinds of flowers and bougainvilleas. The sky is starlit and one is surrounded by the sounds of music, laughter and as always children are included.
This sends your loved one or friend off with not only excitement about the adventure ahead but knowing Ajijic, Lake Chapala with all of its beauty, warmth and wonders will always beckon one home.