Saturday, December 31, 2011

'Tis the Season

'Tis the holiday season - to celebrate the winter solstice, Christmas, Hanukkah, Posadas Navideñas, all leading up to the grand finalé of New Year's Eve. 

We enjoy experiencing the differences between our Canadian celebrations and the Mexican celebrations.  The Posadas Navideñas take place on the nine days preceding Christmas.  From the 16th to the 24th of December local processions reenact Mary and Joseph's search for shelter in Bethlehem.  The processions lead to a different house every night for the culmination of the posada - a small fiesta at the house.   Although some Mexican families have Christmas trees, nacimientos (nativity scenes) are a more common Christmas decoration.  Many families have elaborate nativity scenes in their homes or yards.  There are also large public displays set up in common areas such as the City Hall square or Centro.  The nacimiento is usually set up on December 16th, the baby Jesus is added on the evening of December 24th and the three kings are added on the Night of the Kings, January 5th.

Christmas Eve is called Nochebuena in Spanish. This is the night of the last posada.  Many people attend midnight mass and then have a dinner together with their families.  Christmas Day is generally a quiet day.  Gifts are not traditionally exchanged at Christmas but instead gifts are given to children on the Night of the Kings.  This custom is changing, as the concept of Santa Claus becomes increasingly more prominent in Mexican Christmas celebrations. 
Around 5:45 on Christmas morning, I was awakened by an unusually large number of vehicles, motos, trucks, golf carts passing the house.  Curious I slipped out to the upper balcony to see what was happening.  It was the revelers returning from all-night fiestas at private homes, or in some cases, night clubs.  There were golf carts crammed with eight, ten, or twelve family members.  Motos with two, three or four people.  Trucks with the pickup boxes overflowing with people still dressed up for the Christmas Eve festivities. 

It reminded me a little of when I was a child.  My mother had been adopted by an Icelandic couple in Selkirk Manitoba when she was around seven years old.  Their traditions included a church service late on Christmas Eve, and then the gifts are opened after midnight.  My mom thought that was a more civilized way to celebrate because then her four daughters wouldn't want to get up at five in the morning to open their gifts.  However, we never officially adopted her Christmas Eve tradition - although occasionally she would convince me - the youngest - to insist that we open the presents.

It is a bit odd to be commemorating, what we know as a winter event, under a warm sunny sky with the fragrance of flowers in the air, and palm trees swishing in a light breeze.  It's times like that I think about Lawrie's dad who every year tried to convince his family of adult kids and their spouses that we should all be celebrating in Hawaii, or someplace warm.  We scoffed at the silliness of such an idea.  Christmas without snow!  Christmas without ice!  Christmas without grey skies! 
What was he thinking? 

Now we know.  He was right. 


On December 26th Jackie Walker and Michael LeFines celebrated the 10th anniversary Jax Bar and Grill for their 10th Anniversary celebrations. 
Jackie created a video montage of the past ten years remembering the ups and downs that she and Michael had experienced as business owners in a foreign country.  Beside the financial interference of a corrupt local politician which resulted in a lengthy and costly court battle that Jackie and Michael eventually won, the property was severely damaged during hurricane Wilma in November 2005.  But as the sign says - "We're still here!"

Tuesday December 27th Lawrie was the auctioneer for the 2nd Annual Treasure Island fundraiser for the Las Glorias English School.  Maggie and Tom Washa, with their small army of volunteers put on a great event.  All of the funds raised go to scholarships for students who are unable to pay the tuition. 
There were pirates from many areas of the USA and Canada that congregated to invade Isla Mujeres. 

We love it because it's another excuse to play dress-up!  .

1 comment:

Janet said...

Happy New Year Lynda to you and Lawrie. Thank you for all your wonderful blogs, we've thoroughly enjoyed them, helps to ease the "We miss Isla" ache. 80 long Chicago winter days till we're there! Enjoy your warmth and sunshine!