Loved the parade. Mostly school groups.
Next up: San Andres festival (Ajijic’s patron saint).
Loved the parade. Mostly school groups.
Next up: San Andres festival (Ajijic’s patron saint).
The holiday season has begun here in México. 16 de septiembre is Mexican Independence Day and the festivities are a blast. Someday, I guess, I will live here long enough that I can’t rouse myself for a 10 minute walk to see lovely things and have fun. But now, I’m al in.
Ajijic has an annual Regata de Globos — a hot air balloon festival. These aren’t the kind you ride around in; they are smaller. They are made of tissue paper and sent aloft with flames creating hot air. The event takes place in the fútbol field and is well attended. There are food and drink vendors and many teams making and launching their globos. Some go off without a hitch, after a lot of hard work, and sail up until you can no longer see them. Some fly for a while and then start on fire and drop from the sky. Some go aflame right there in the campo de fútbol. It’s a wild time and beautiful to see the handmade creations take flight. It’s sad, exciting, and funny when they don’t.
The day before Independence Day, kids’ games are held — running races, sack races, the greased pole climb, and one game where kids try to pry coins off a comal with only their mouths.
The night before Independence Day is the Grito de Dolores — a cry by Miguel Hidalgo that roused the people to fight for independence. It took place in the town of Dolores, which you may know now as Dolores Hidalgo. The grito commemoration at 11 at night. In Ajijic, the time leading up to it finds the plaza full of people watching ballet folclórico (the troupe included some very tiny girls who could really whirl their skirts around), mariachis, and a local singing contest (the crowd votes the winner with applause and the prize is a bottle of tequila). This year, it was a mighty close decision between an older man on crutches (who sang “Mi Lindo Ajijic”) and a tall young bearded hipster-y guy who the female MC asked to turn around so the ladies could admire his backside. In the end, the older man won and crutched off the stage with his bottle. Many of the singers this year were reading lyrics from iPhones, making us think of karaoke nights.
The local bellezas (beauty queens) were present with their intricate up-dos, perfect makeup and expensive gowns. A group of runners from Guanajuato arrived with the flame of independence— they had been relay-running for several days. They looked tired and so proud and patriotic. Touched my heart.
Earlier in the evening, we saw some high school aged kids in uniforms practicing their marching. They were the ones who marched the flag to the stage at the opportune moment. Someone read the Mexican declaration of independice, of which I understood more this year than I had in the past. Lots of stuff about the Catholic faith in there; who knew? The national anthem was sung (it’s long). The local delegado made the grito (cry) of Independence and everyone responded “VIVA! VIVA!” And then there were fireworks. The plaza was packed, many folks toting a bag of ice, a bottle of tequila, and plastic cups. A band would play long into the night/morning, long after we tottered off to home and bed.
On the actual Independence Day, a parade wound through the narrow streets consisting mainly of groups of uniformed school kids (all ages, with varying abilities to stay in formation), and horses. I love watching this, seeing the kids’ pride and that of their hovering parents. The horses? They’re big scary animals, okay? But some are pretty and have nice braided manes.
Other holidays will follow: Revolution Day, San Andres Festival, Dia de los Muertos, and then on to the Christmas season and the new year.
We’re ready. Bring it on.
I often say that we understand about half of what goes on around here. Since we are learning the language and culture, there are a lot of things that we only partially grasp. Dia de la Cruz (which was 3 May 2019) is one of those.
We first learned about Dia de la Cruz in 2018 while walking around Seis Esquinas, the neighborhood where we were renting a house. Many people had set up altars in front of their houses and stores, and these altars were lavishly covered with food and household goods — fruit, boxes of cereal, cartons of eggs, bottles of dish detergent, sacks of beans, packages of toilet paper. While walking around those altars, I spoke with a woman I knew from Zumba class and she tried to explain the tradition to me and told me she could send me a video clip about it.
As I understand it (Mexican friends, please correct me), people can come and take the food from the altar, but then they must bring it back the next year.
Dia de la Cruz is also a special holiday for construction workers. The boss is provides them with lunch and beer, provided they put up a cross on the construction site.
Dia de la Cruz took on another meaning for us once my Zumba friend sent me the video. The video was filmed at a big cross that just happens to be in front of the lot we bought. By “in front of,” I mean the back of the base of the cross is about 18 inches from our wall/property line. You can watch the short video here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=857538374443980
(And here’s a video of Dia de la Cruz in Seis Esquinas: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=2035253430027606 )
During our house construction, the area in front of our property was often heaped with debris and with piles of materials (sand, flagstone, etc). The cross took a bit of a beating but we talked to the construction guys about making sure things were cleaned up prior to Dia de la Cruz. My husband went up to do some cleaning on the Sunday before the Friday holiday and worked with a neighbor’s son to clean the cross and the area around it. The young neighbor also did a new whitewash job on the base of the cross.
On Dia de la Cruz, the lady across the street decorated the cross with streamers, flower bouquets, and paper flower garlands. We enjoyed the party with our construction workers, which started around 2:00. We shared some beers and conversation with them and then left for home about 5:00.
When we retuned to look at the altars around 8:00, festivities were in full swing. A band was playing on the corner, where the local store had set up an altar. The neighbor had the cross covered with food, which people were in the process of taking, and she had a table where she and her helpers were giving out agua fresca (jamaica and guayaba). A headdress shaped like a bull (torito) was covered with fireworks. A man put it on his head, it was lit and he ran wildly up and down the street until the fireworks stopped. The construction guys were still partying in our house when we left; at least one was asleep on the floor. We declined any more beer and exited our property just as prayers were being led at the cross. We stayed for those and then headed home.
I told our nice neighbor lady that I would help out next year. Of course, she will have to fill me in on the things I don’t understand — about half of it, probably.
View from our roof:
Altar in Seis Esquinas:
In front of our house, at night, Dia de la Cruz:
For those who have been asking, here are some recent photos of our progress.
We continue to have woes with our decorative tile. Delivery delays, including false alarms where our tile was “really” on the truck … only to be told the next day it was still in the warehouse 5 hours away. Much of the tile has arrived but we still await more. Ojalá, it will come in two weeks.
In the meantime, enough tile is in for the door guy to come and start installing our doors. We think they look amazing!
Our the “gunnite” concrete was blown into our pool by a team of about 10 who came from Guadalajara with a truck. It was amazing to watch them work and I will post some of those pictures another time. Tile should begin in the pool next week. Also, the carpenter should appear next week with our cabinets! Other tasks on tap include the installation of our aljibe (underground water tank) and the water pressure and filtration systems.
We’ve arranged lodging for the rest of this month and for May, believing we will be in near the end of May. We’ve been buying furniture, too.
All for now!
Shadow of man laying tile on patio roofs.
Master bedroom door.
Master bedroom door, from outside.
Stairs to mirador.
Tile going in.
Laying tile on mirador.
House construction updates include:
— Floor tile. The tiles we ordered months ago evidently showed up, but not the “first quality” version. Our contractor provided us an alternative, which I sort of liked better. Bigger and a mottled appearance that will likely show less dirt. A truck load of them arrived late afternoon on Thursday (interesting to watch the big truck try to make the turn into our tiny street). Laying of tile began Friday.
— Decorative tile. Evidently, our special-ordered tiles from the town of Dolores Hidalgo are finally completed. Getting them down here may be an issue. Stay tuned to see if we need to drive up to get them.
— Ceiling fans and some of the lights are in.
— The dining room window frame and the window frames for the cañón kitchen ceiling are in.
— Painting is progressing.
— We made a trip to Tonalá and Tlaquepaque to look for lights and other items. We ordered some lights from a big crazy iron works called Forge Española. We also fell in love with a bit of furniture there, which will hopefully be delivered in about two weeks.
Front wall in process
Above, fireplace in process
Covered patio with paint swatches
Mirador cover in process
Lovely AM for Zumba on the malecon. Happy to start my new year that way!