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Posts Tagged ‘Noche Buena’

Yes, I know, the Poinsettia is the unofficial red flowering plant of the Christmas season — in Mexico, it even shares the name for Christmas Eve, Nochebuena.  However, there is another red flowering plant that provides holiday color this time of year, the Bottle Brush tree (genus, Callistemon).

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On the rooftop, my container-planted Bottle Brush tree.

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Any way you look at it, it brightens the day and brings a bit of Christmas cheer to the garden.

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Bottle Brush, the other red of Christmas!

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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!

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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!

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Zócalo teeming with young, old, and all ages in between… vendors, Oaxaqueños, tourists from Mexico and the world beyond.  Streets filled with vehicles… parked, double parked, stopped, or moving at a snail’s pace to the shrill sound of transit police whistles.  Posadas converging on the zócalo… fireworks, bands, Marys and Josephs and baby Jesus, candles, angels, monos and marmotas, dancers, sparklers, and an overwhelming abundance of peace and joy and goodwill toward all.

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Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) magic in Oaxaca.

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