posted on Jan, 1 2011 @ 05:36 PM
The Biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus differ from gospel to gospel and so do our traditions around the world. It may be a conspiracy but it's
fun so let's not split hairs over it 'cause it ain't over yet.
Many folks around the world, workers and kids in school, are returning to the grind after this weekend, traditionally the day after New Year's Day
but here in Mexico and other Latino countries we're only halfway through the holiday. It starts around the time of the pagan Saturnalia and days
before Christmas and lasts past the Twelve Days of Christmas until after the kids are visited by the Wise Men bearing their gifts. The Christmas feast
and celebration here carry on the drunken and loud party tradition of the Saturnalia.
On Noche Buena (xmas eve) the streets are lined with small bonfires called fogatas where people are gathered around pounding cervezas to toast the
birth of the niño Jesús. Others are strolling those streets and are welcomed in to warm themselves by the fogata and offerred refreshments of
cerveza and ponche. Fireworks and loud revelling are served up all the while.
Many folks celebrate with a huge supper served at midnight, the Navidad and the First Day of Christmas, where all have been gathered around the dinner
table as the main room of the house for the past couple weeks have been turned into the Nativity scene with all usable furniture stacked or pushed
aside to accomodate the manger, camels, worshippers, etc.
The fogata continues in the street and as more libations are consumed the music in turn gets louder and continues this trend throughout the night. The
older folk have now consumed their meal and retired to their beds while the younger ones continue to cheer, sing off-key, and raise their spirits into
the heavens and other continue strolling. The local tiendas accordingly extend their hours into the night to help fuel the singing and festivities.
And so it goes throughout the madrugada until daybreak when the cevezas run out, fogata fires burn out, and likewise the revelers at last burn out and
retire to their beds. The abuelitas have arisen and now venture out to clean-up the beer cans and fogata and sweep the streets before the rest of the
neighbors emerge from their homes.
What is conspicuously missing is the gift exchange us from north of the border are accustomed to. That comes later on the Twelveth Night of Christmas,
5th of January, when the children are visited in their slumber by the Reyes Magos who leave presents under their beds then awaken on the day of the
Epiphany to their bounty. By that custom the solemnity of the Navidad is not forsaken by expectations of toys and presents.
Only the Gospels of Matthew and Luke describe the Nativity pretty much as we think of it today and only Matthew mentions the Three Wise Men, Mark says
Jesus was born in a cave. Who knows? Let's just enjoy it. That is the important part of the tradition. Hope you all had a happy holiday season, I'm
still having mine. there is still time to enjoy it. ¡Feliz Año!