Living in San Carlos, Mexico is in many ways like peeling an onion. I do not mean that I cry a lot. Quite the opposite, actually. With each new layer, something I did not know before is revealed. I was always a big fan of those “aha moments” in my classroom. How genuinely lucky I am to have them now myself, almost daily. And while not everything I learn is mind blowing, life changing, or save the world important, this life long learner appreciates each and every opportunity to experience something new about Mexico, its people, and their culture.
For example, last week marked the beginning of El Maratón Guadalupe Reyes. What?! Is this a race? A shopping event? Another celebration of Our Lady of Guadalupe? It just so happens that it is even better than all of those things. Guadalupe Reyes marks the time period between the Feast Day de La Virgin de Guadalupe on December 12 and El Día de los Tres Reyes on January 6. Basically, a month long party of never ending special days! How did I miss this last year?! I am so excited to know about it now!
Guadalupe Reyes reminds me of the time period in the U.S.A. between Thanksgiving and Christmas. More than time spent getting ready for one big celebration on Christmas morning, however, Guadalupe Reyes is about getting together with friends and family for food filled parties, one after another, every day!
Here in Guaymas, the word posada is used to describe any Christmas celebration.
Between December 13-15, my husband attended four Posadas! Many of his friends made it to even more than that! El Maratón had officially begun. Steve enjoyed special Christmas tamales, beans, stews, and sweets at each Posada that he has attended. A typical Christmas tamal made in Guaymas includes shredded beef, potatoes, onions, chilis, and one green olive. I may not have attended a Posada, but I am certainly enjoying my share of tamales thanks to all of Steve’s leftovers. There are many jokes made this time of year about the amount of weight gained during Guadalupe Reyes. Maybe I am fortunate to have a smaller social circle!
Further south in Mexico, Posadas will be held nightly from December 16-December 24. These are more religious in nature. These nine days of celebration are called the “novena” and signify the nine months that Mary was pregnant with Jesus. The word posada means “lodging” or “inn”. The celebrations begin with a procession, led by a couple dressed as Mary and Joseph, through neighborhoods and communities. Participants carry lighted candles and sing as they weave their way through the streets. The procession stops at prearranged homes or “posadas”. A song is sung asking the owner for lodging. Several times each evening the procession is told “No, there is no room”. Finally, the group is accepted into a home. After a prayer around the nativity, a celebration with music, food, sweets, Christmas punch and hot chocolate begins. There is always a piñata for the children. The traditional piñata is star-shaped. The star has seven points, each one representing one of the seven deadly sins.
Piñatas are popular at Christmas time no matter where you live in Mexico. And truthfully, it does not matter how old you are either. Steve’s company hosts a Posada for all of its employees each year. There is always a piñata. And there are always at least 500+ adults diving onto the floor grabbing candy once it breaks!
Enjoy your special holiday time and traditions with friends and family. Keep Calm and Guadalupe Reyes, amigos!