Christmas and the New Year
Having never spent Christmas or New Year’s outside the US, I wondered if I would get homesick. I will say that I didn’t miss the constant societal push to shop, shop, shop, buy, buy, buy. I didn’t miss the plague of advertising. I didn’t miss the cold weather or the rain or snow.
Instead, I watched the live scenes of the “five mysteries” outside the church. I hung up a piñata my husband bought me. I saw all the families sitting outside their houses on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve), eating, drinking, making merry and sitting around glowing bonfires. I gave some envelopes of pesos to the trash guys, the police, and the house cleaner. I had brunch with new friends on Christmas Day and cozy dinners with my husband. I saw a Christmas that seemed different than that NOB (North of Border) — one where no one was busy shopping and people got together to enjoy each other’s company.
I did, to some degree, feel homesick. I missed having a Pacific Northwest fir tree, decorated with ornaments from my parents and my life. I missed the days of baking I usually do — my mom’s recipes, mostly. I missed our house adorned with festive lights. I missed entertaining, having a Solstice party, having folks to dinner, and going to friends’ houses for get-togethers. I missed (really) good wine.
New Year’s was fabulous. We caught any early play reading at the Naked Stage, Nora and Delia Ephron’s “Love, Loss and What I Wore.” Have you seen it or read the book? I recommend. After, we had a great pasta dinner with friends in their lovely century-old hacienda-style house. The Ajijic malecon then started up with music and we danced a gringo version of the cumbia on the concrete walkway along with tons of other people who were enjoying themselves. Midnight, the fireworks which blasted off from the pier to the sound of Katy Perry’s “Firework.”
We walked home shortly after and saw a group in the Seis Esquinas plaza. Adults were hoisting piñatas on a rope over the tree limb and kids were taking turns whacking them with a decorated broomstick — rushing forth to claim the candies when the piñatas burst. At the corner near our house, a large family group was gathered at tables, with their bonfire, and were playing some kind of gift exchange game. From babies in arms to the elderly, everyone was having a blast commenting on who should give a gift to whom. I have no idea of the rules, but a good time was had by all and the gifts seemed to be accompanied by kisses.
Our neighborhood also evidently hosts Ajijic’s New Year’s Day parade, which started around 1:00 p.m.. Leading the parade was a local cowboy and his horse, following by “Wonder Woman” on her horse, a banner proclaiming the parade a gift to Donald Trump and a bigger-than-life-size Trump effigy being carried by guys dressed as Lucha Libre wrestlers. On Trump’s backside was a “hit me” sign and many gringos from the crowd happily obliged, greeted by cheers and laughter. Many of the parade floats were themes from the movie “Coco” (have you seen it? You must!). And there were bands. Bringing up the end were a host of folks dressed as expertly-painted loteria cards. Better than the Rose Parade, at least in my opinion!
But then again, I am biased, and am so loving the holidays and culture I am experiencing here in beautiful Jalisco.