Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

This year, a Christmas tree grows in Oaxaca.  Well, not a real, living tree.  This one, almost 3-stories tall, was constructed over several days alongside the Cathedral.

p1230435

Adding the green panels to the frame.

p1230457

Hanging the lights.

p1230446

So far, so good!

p1230497

All dressed up and ready to go.

p1230860

Lights on; crowds assembled!

What can I say?  Nacimientos (Nativity scenes) are traditional here; Christmas trees are not.  However, despite what we like to think, traditions are not static, they evolve.  People come and go across oceans and across borders and they bring back what captures their fancy.  All I know is that the city is alive with the sound of music, energy, and lightness of being.

Read Full Post »

This is how I feel today…

P1150620

Actually, I took this a few weeks ago on Matamoros (at Tinoco y Palacios) with the intention of writing a blog post lamenting Christmas traditions (Christmas trees, Santa Claus, consumerism, etc.) migrating down from el norte.  But, I think I’ll just let the image speak for itself.

Read Full Post »

‘Tis Christmas Eve in Nueva York and, while we may be dreaming of a white Christmas, there is not a snowflake in sight.  However, the stockings are hung by the chimney with care, a plate of Christmas cookies is awaiting a hungry Santa Claus, and tonight I will read Pancho Claus to my grandson.  It will be his first time hearing Ernie Villarreal’s version of Pancho Claus by Chicano music legend, Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero.  Hopefully, he will learn a few more words in Spanish and, whether I’m visiting or not, it will become a family tradition.

Palm leaf horse & rider ornament

Pancho Claus

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through la casa
Not a creature was stirring, Caramba! ¿Que pasa?

Los ninos were all tucked away in their camas,
Some in vestidos and some in pajamas.
While Mama worked late in her little cocina,
El viejo was down at the corner cantina.

The stockings were hanging con mucho cuidado,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would feel obligado
To bring all the children, both buenos y malos,
A Nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

Outside in the yard, there arouse such a grito,
That I jumped to my feet, like a frightened cabrito.

I went to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world, do you think que era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!

And pulling his sleigh instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came, and this little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre.

¡Ay, Pancho! ¡Ay, Pepe! ¡Ay, Cuca! ¡Ay, Beto!
¡Ay, Chato! ¡¡Ay, Chopo! ¡Maruca and ¡Nieto!

Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.

Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala.

He filled the stockings with lovely regalos,
For none of the children had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud and seeming contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.

And I heard him exclaim and this is VERDAD,
Merry Christmas to all, And to All ¡Feliz Navidad!

Painted gourd ornament

Read Full Post »

It’s a quiet Nochebuena (Christmas Eve) in my childhood home here in Mill Valley.  There are no sparklers to wave, no nacimiento stands in the town plaza, and no posadas are likely to knock on the front door tonight.  However, there is a fire burning in the fireplace, stockings hang from the mantle, and a Douglas Fir is standing in the living room wearing four generations of family Christmas treasures.

And, visions from Ernie Villarreal’s version of Pancho Claus, by Chicano music legend, Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero, dance in my head.

Pancho Claus

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through la casa
Not a creature was stirring, Caramba! ¿Que pasa?

Los ninos were all tucked away in their camas,
Some in vestidos and some in pajamas.
While Mama worked late in her little cocina,
El viejo was down at the corner cantina.

The stockings were hanging con mucho cuidado,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would feel obligado
To bring all the children, both buenos y malos,
A Nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

Outside in the yard, there arouse such a grito,
That I jumped to my feet, like a frightened cabrito.

I went to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world, do you think que era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!

And pulling his sleigh instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came, and this little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre.

¡Ay, Pancho! ¡Ay, Pepe! ¡Ay, Cuca! ¡Ay, Beto!
¡Ay, Chato! ¡¡Ay, Chopo! ¡Maruca and ¡Nieto!

Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.

Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala.

He filled the stockings with lovely regalos,
For none of the children had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud and seeming contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.

And I heard him exclaim and this is VERDAD,
Merry Christmas to all, And to All ¡Feliz Navidad!

Carlsberg and Stella Artois… What is it about beer and Christmas?

Read Full Post »

Noche de Rabanos is moving!

IMG_1381

According to an article in yesterday’s Noticias, the continued occupation of the zócalo by the teachers and the ambulantes has forced this year’s 117th annual festival to relocate.  Ahhh… only in Oaxaca!

On December 23, the 130 participants and their carved radishes, totomoxtle figures, and flor inmortal scenes will be found on the Andador Turístico (aka,Macedonio Alcalá).

Hotels are expecting an 85% occupancy rate, but the business owners along the Alcalá are concerned the Rabanos crowds will block entrances to their shops.  However, I’m wondering if it might improve the viewing traffic flow.  If you are in Oaxaca, please let me know — I headed north to the rain and snow of el norte to spend the holidays with mi familia.

Photos from last year’s Noche de Rabanos.

Update (as of Dec. 21):  Ambulantes, though not teachers, have cleared out and Rabanos WILL be held on the zócalo. 

Read Full Post »

Despite of the name, Noche de Rábanos isn’t just about carving radishes.  The creativity and ingenuity of the gardeners and artisans of Oaxaca in several other categories are also on display — Flor Inmortal (dried flowers), Totomoxtle (dried corn husks) Natural, and Totomoxtle Decorated, as well as two Children’s categories.

IMG_1536

First place in the Totomoxtle Natural category went to Elpidio Adrián González López and his amazing creation, Mercado Antiguo en la Plaza de las Armas 1885.

If you missed it December 23 on the zócalo, or want to see it up close and personal, head over to CaféCafé, on the corner of Porfirio Díaz and M. Bravo.

It will be on display until January 6, 2014.

h/t Jane & Ken

Read Full Post »

Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) in Oaxaca means posadas from churches around the city converge on the zócalo.  Flatbed trucks carrying Jesus, Mary, and Josephs; fireworks, pinwheels, and sparklers; brass bands; China Oaxaqueña folkloric dancers; and the faithful carrying candles arrive to circle the zócalo again and again and again.  Spectators, young and old wave sparklers, take photos, and crack powder or confetti filled eggs on each others heads — and it’s quite a scene!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And, in what has become a Christmas Eve tradition (it was still Christmas Eve when I began this post) on my blog, Ernie Villarreal’s version of the song, Pancho Claus, by Chicano music legend, Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero.

Pancho Claus

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through la casa
Not a creature was stirring, Caramba! ¿Que pasa?

Los ninos were all tucked away in their camas,
Some in vestidos and some in pajamas.
While Mama worked late in her little cocina,
El viejo was down at the corner cantina.

The stockings were hanging con mucho cuidado,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would feel obligado
To bring all the children, both buenos y malos,
A Nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

Outside in the yard, there arouse such a grito,
That I jumped to my feet, like a frightened cabrito.

I went to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world, do you think que era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!

And pulling his sleigh instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came, and this little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre.

¡Ay, Pancho! ¡Ay, Pepe! ¡Ay, Cuca! ¡Ay, Beto!
¡Ay, Chato! ¡¡Ay, Chopo! ¡Maruca and ¡Nieto!

Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.

Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala.

He filled the stockings with lovely regalos,
For none of the children had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud and seeming contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.

And I heard him exclaim and this is VERDAD,
Merry Christmas to all, And to All ¡Feliz Navidad!

Read Full Post »

Watching the watcher…

IMG_1371

This morning at Noche de Rábanos.

Read Full Post »

This morning I walked down to the zócalo to watch artists at work — it’s Noche de Rábanos (Night of the Radishes).   This December 23 “only in Oaxaca” tradition has been a mainstay of the holiday season since 1897.  I know, who would have thought radishes could elicit such creativity?  But, they definitely do!  Here is Adrián Antonio Flores Peña working on his piece, Quebrantahueso (bearded vulture).

IMG_1581

More to come… I just have to weed through the 300+ other photos I took!

UPDATE:  Adrián Antonio Flores Peña won first place in the “Free” (as opposed to “Traditional”) category.

Read Full Post »

Last night, just about this time, a posada through the calles of Teotitlán del Valle was arriving at the home where Mary and Joseph would find shelter for the night.  Each night, images of Mary and Joseph wander the streets looking for refuge.  The posadas began on December 15 and will last through December 24, la última posada, and the arrival of Jesus.

Women arriving at the home where Mary & Joseph spent the previous night.

Women and men arrive at the home where Mary and Joseph had spent the previous night.

IMG_1098

Prayers are said in front of the images of Mary and Joseph and then women line up on one side and men on the other, as the procession begins.

IMG_1089

There is a band.  Actually, there are two bands.  The first, at the front of the procession, plays a dirge-like tune and the second, back near the statues of Mary and Joseph, plays marching music (think, John Philip Sousa).

IMG_1072

Naturally, there are fireworks.  These are the pyrotechnic guys, waiting to lead the parade.

IMG_1113

Mary and Joseph en route.  Please note, they are carried by young, and from what I was told, unmarried women.

IMG_1122

Primarily lit by elaborate beeswax velas labradas (carved candles), the procession wound its way through Teotitlán del Valle.

IMG_1138

Through the uneven cobblestone streets, young and old walked for over two hours.  It was massive and it seemed as if the entire village was either in the parade or watching.

IMG_1164

Eventually, we arrived at the home where Mary and Joseph would be given refuge for this night.  There was no mistaking this was the destination — it was lit up like a Christmas tree.

IMG_1167

Inside, there was more religious ritual, but outside, there were sparklers!

(ps)  If anyone has any tips for taking photos of nighttime processions of people under challenging lighting conditions, please feel free to offer your suggestions.  Muchisimas gracias.

Read Full Post »

The rabanos, danzantes, and I wish a happy holidays to all…

Photos from Noche de Rabanos.   And, my rapidly becoming a Christmas Eve blog tradition…

Pancho Claus

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through la casa
Not a creature was stirring, Caramba! ¿Que pasa?

Los ninos were all tucked away in their camas,
Some in vestidos and some in pajamas.
While Mama worked late in her little cocina,
El viejo was down at the corner cantina.

The stockings were hanging con mucho cuidado,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would feel obligado
To bring all the children, both buenos y malos,
A Nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

Outside in the yard, there arouse such a grito,
That I jumped to my feet, like a frightened cabrito.

I went to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world, do you think que era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!

And pulling his sleigh instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came, and this little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre.

¡Ay, Pancho! ¡Ay, Pepe! ¡Ay, Cuca! ¡Ay, Beto!
¡Ay, Chato! ¡¡Ay, Chopo! ¡Maruca and ¡Nieto!

Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.

Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala.

He filled the stockings with lovely regalos,
For none of the children had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud and seeming contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.

And I heard him exclaim and this is VERDAD,
Merry Christmas to all, And to All ¡Feliz Navidad!

Ernie Villarreal’s version of the song, Pancho Claus, by Chicano music legend, Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero.

Read Full Post »

Although Christmas trees are making inroads, in Oaxaca it is the nacimiento de navidad (nativity scene) that is the omnipresent symbol of Christmas.  Unique and personal, they are seen everywhere; the zócalo, homes, hotel lobbies, store windows, and every kind of business you can think of!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

And, yes, this “spiritual but not religious” gringa couldn’t resist a miniature woven straw one of her own. It’s a work of art!

Read Full Post »

For the first time since I began nesting in my cozy little rooftop casita, I’m not heading north for Christmas.  I admit to having decidedly mixed feelings; my family and most of my closest friends are up in El Norte and I’m already missing them and the traditions we have created.  However, this year I get to share the holidays with new friends, create new traditions, and experience festivities heretofore unimagined — Noche de Rabanos (Night of the Radishes)?  I can’t wait!

In the meantime, to bring a little of the familiar into the mix, I bought a Christmas tree.  Not a real one (sad face) and not one of those seen below that my local supermarket has had for sale for several weeks.  Mine is decidedly smaller, measuring exactly two feet, and…

Three decorated Christmas trees with 30% discount signs

too small to hang my favorite Mexican ornaments on its un-scented, wiry but green(!) boughs.  These colorful and wonderfully bouncy decorations will be purchased and a place for them in and around Casita Colibrí will be found.

P1020291

Trimming my tree will present some challenges.  No cartons of ornaments, lovingly collected and stored by four generations of the family, to bring down from the attic.  And, as I’ve said, the tree is tiny.  I’m thinking… digging into my earring collection might be a good place to start.

P1020831

However, these earrings will have to wait to adorn the tree until after I wear them tomorrow.  December 8 is the celebration of the Virgen de Juquila — the first of three Vírgenes honored by Oaxaqueños in December.  There will be parades.  There will be fireworks.  There will be wildly clanging church bells.  And, there will be an abundance of magic this month, of this I have no doubt!

Read Full Post »

Today, the truck arrived, the wheelbarrows were loaded, and the gardening crew began filling the flower beds of Oaxaca’s zócalo…

Truck filled with poinsettias

Workers with wheelbarrows filled with poinsettias

Worker digging up flower bed, with poinsettias in pots in background

Mass of red and one white poinsettias in flower bed.

Navidad is coming to Oaxaca!

Read Full Post »

A few weeks ago, my neighbor gave me the following poem based on the Clement C. Moore classic, ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas.  The author, she said, was unknown.  The reference librarian in me couldn’t resist doing a little digging and found that this is Texas Public Radio DJ Ernie Villarreal’s version of the song, Pancho Claus, by Chicano music legend, Eduardo “Lalo” Guerrero.

~~~

‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through la casa
Not a creature was stirring, Caramba! ¿Que pasa?

Los ninos were all tucked away in their camas,
Some in vestidos and some in pajamas.
While Mama worked late in her little cocina,
El viejo was down at the corner cantina.

The stockings were hanging con mucho cuidado,
In hopes that St. Nicholas would feel obligado
To bring all the children, both buenos y malos,
A Nice batch of dulces and other regalos.

Outside in the yard, there arouse such a grito,
That I jumped to my feet, like a frightened cabrito.

I went to the window and looked out afuera,
And who in the world, do you think que era?

Saint Nick in a sleigh and a big red sombrero
Came dashing along like a crazy bombero!

And pulling his sleigh instead of venados,
Were eight little burros approaching volados.

I watched as they came, and this little hombre
Was shouting and whistling and calling by nombre.

¡Ay, Pancho! ¡Ay, Pepe! ¡Ay, Cuca! ¡Ay, Beto!
¡Ay, Chato! ¡¡Ay, Chopo! ¡Maruca
and ¡Nieto!

Then standing erect with his hand on his pecho
He flew to the top of our very own techo.
With his round little belly like a bowl of jalea,
He struggled to squeeze down our old chimenea.

Then huffing and puffing, at last in our sala,
With soot smeared all over his red suit de gala.

He filled the stockings with lovely regalos,
For none of the children had been very malos.

Then chuckling aloud and seeming contento,
He turned like a flash and was gone like the viento.

And I heard him exclaim and this is VERDAD,
Merry Christmas to all, And to All ¡Feliz Navidad!

~~~

Multicolor star-shaped piñata against blue sky.

Piñata at the southeast corner of the zócalo in Oaxaca.

Paz y alegría a todos  ~~  Peace and joy to all.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: