Wednesday, 21 December 2011

This entry has knawn at my gizzard for a bit, (amended on 22 December during the late afternoon)

     It should be of some interest that in Mexico, Christmas is an important issue.    Beginning on the 12th of December  the entire Republic, no matter what, goes into kind of a slow motion brought on by the Celebration of the Apparition of the Blessed Virgin Mary to the Otomi' Indian man in 1532.   The appearance occured, ostensbily, on the Hill of Tepayac, situated on the northeast corner of the the most intensely populated part of what is present-day Mexico City.    You are spared the explanations about the solution to the problems presented by this apparition.   Suffice it to say that all Mexicans pay serious homage to the Virgin de Guadalupe as this apparition of Saint Mary is known.  All Mexicans...observant Catholics, non-participating Catholics, atheists, agnostics, Jews, non-Spanish-speaking Indians, foreigners, Protestants, and the entire rest of the country is committed to the celebration of this Apparition and its importance to Mexico.
      It is commonly observed that Yahweh and Esua are only God and Son, while Mary is the Mother of Mexico. During the days leading up to the 12th of December and the days shortly after, there is said to be the arrival and departure of 3,000,000 visitors, pilgrims, visitors, and other sorts of interested participants and bystanders.    Numerous Indian dance groups and Matachines....people from parishes throughout Mexico who form Indian dance groups but who are not specifically this or that nation or tribe of Indians.     The whole affair is crowded, but strangely calm and clean.   It is rare that there is an incident such as a robbery or pickpocketing....and the restrooms stay clean and my experience.

Another popular event around Christmas, Las Posadas:

    The Posadas, returning to popularity after a couple of generations of neglect, have come to the fore again.   This involves known people of the area and/or neighourhood going around in a group to sing Advent and Christmas anthems and to deliver a doll/effigy of the Christ Child for safe-keeping until the same or slightly larger group comes around again to sing and pray and then take the Christ Child on his search for an appropriate place to be born (rest his head) or otherwise fulfill the prophesies.    El Gringo Viejo has a hundred or a thousand stories about this event.   It is very noble....but at times....shall we say, interesting.

This is a picture of prep-school types conducting a Posada in their
neighbourhood.   There are rules, but there is a lot of variation in the application
of the traditions.

    The Posadas can be participated in everyday attire or with folkloric garb, or coat and tie and party dresses, or in regalia identical or reminiscent of that worn by people of the era and the area concerned with Bethelehem.   It can be all adults or a gaggle of school classmates or a mix of the two.   It can be unsponsored or a very elaborate effort by a large parish.   Protestant churches have posadas.

This particular Posada consists of children from a
local Parish Church.   By their attire it could be assumed
that they are in southern Vera Cruz State.

      The posadas last for twelve nights, until finally on the 24th of December the baby finds that place where he can lay his head.   Of course the next day is the Feast of the Nativity in the Orthodox Church and Christmas to the world of Jew, Gentile, and all the rest who know and love Santa Claus.   When the twelve days are finally past, the devotions of the faithful will have included at least 50,000 Hail Marys and 30,000 other prayers of intercession and consideration.
     Something of importance to submit to the attention of the OROGs is the fact that although Mexico during the 1900s...and at other times during the 1800s....and until very recent days has been an officially and stridently anti-Catholic country.   It seems strange, perhaps, but it is true.    Much of the Revolution of 1910 was fought to re-invigorate the Laws of Reform included in the previous Constitution of 1857, which essentially called for the total expropriation of the Church and all its properties.   The Constitution of 1917 is vigourously anti-Catholic specifically and fairly anti-religious in general.
      To this day, all churches, new, old, or ancient have to be titled to the central government's Secretariat of Government (the most important of all the Secretariats).    Anymousity between the Church and the government lessened in large part when the National Action Party (PAN) took over the Presidency in the last two elections.   The old government party, the PRI seemed tired of defaming and demagoging the Catholic Church and going through the motions of enforcing the several hundred specific Constitutional prohibitions of certain acts, rights, and prerogatives allowed the common citizenry but denied to the Roman Catholic Church and its priests, nuns, and schools.
     Anti-clericism and anti-Catholic and anti-Christian and anti-religious sentiments still abound within the ranks of the intellectually ever-duller  Mexican Left.   Their hatred for the unseen is absolute, so much so, that one wonders if they believe in the oxygen they steal from the breathing believers.    Should the left sweep to power again it would be inevitable that the persecutions, closings of churches and other repressions would begin as they did in the 1920s.   In those years Mexico suffered another war, the Guerra de los Cristeros (Christers' War) in which the central (marxist driven) government lost some 40,000 soldiers in 4 years of war and disorders and the Cristeros lost about the same number, principally in Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi', Michoacan, and Jalisco States.   Disorders took place throughout the nation but the most involved area was the very centre....are area still to this day thought to be "more Catholic than the Pope".
     Still to this day, it is illegal and anti-Constitutional for Mexicans to march publicly (under the canopy of the sky) with a curate, priest, or other identifiable Catholic officiate during a public religious celebration.    But still in all, Mexico is a strange, contradictive, and compelling place.   Therefore, when one travels throughout Mexico, even in areas where the leftist PRD party is in charge, one will encounter publicly placed announcements proclaiming, "Feliz Navidad! or Feliz Navidad y Prospero An~o Nuevo"....and one will find, on public and private grounds, building, facilities, or where ever, humble to incredibly elegant and intricate Scenes of the Nativity....with manikins and/or living people and animals.
This is on one of the main downtown thoroughfares
in Mexico City.   Behind the Three Wise Men one can see
the Emblem Mountains of Mexico City, the always
 snow-capped Popocatapetl and Ixtoccihuatl. 

      Banners and pennants can be seen in Social Security Hospitals, government offices, public schools and universities with religious scenes and even prayers of homage.   A palacio municipal with a green, white, and red (incandescent) lighted "Protegenos, Virgincita, a tu familia" (Protect us, Little Virgin, your family)   or "Rogemos para la Paz, Sn. JesusCristo" (We pray for peace, Lord Jesus Christ), or the sounds of "White Christmas, and God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen" and the like are heard from stem to stern everywhere in Mexico, public or private, without apology....everywhere scenes of the event in Bethelehem.

     Below, one can study the Scene of the Nativity on the ground floor, to one side of the main stairs leading up to the action area of the Palacio Nacional....the Center of the Mexican National Federal Government....on the Zocalo in the center of Mexico City.   Some of Diego Rivera's marxist inspired frescoes are seen in the background.   Quite a  nice arrangement, actually.

      Anyway, it was just our thinking that perhaps this might be one of the small reasons that El Gringo Viejo might feel a bit more in a zone of normalcy of the olden times.    Typical song of lament of a geezer, I am sure.
El Gringo Viejo.