Tuesday, 27 November 2012

      We are beginning to prepare for our jaunt down to our little hideaway on the face of the Sierra Madre Oriental.   Our man has been there far too long for one stay, and it is all due to a series of small problems and obligations for El Gringo Viejo to address on this side of the Rio Grande.   It may well mean having to be out of circulation for Christmas and the Holiday Season in general.  With better order being restored there is even a chance that we might go back to having folks stay with us for all or part of the festivities, which in Mexico really start up with the day of the Virgin de Guadalupe  (12 December), or what the Anglicans would style (when there was such a thing as an Anglican or Episcopal Church) as the Apparition of Saint Mary of Tepeyac.

A very small portion of a principally Indian group of worshippers coming
to the Basilica de Guadalupe on the 12th of December, any year

File:Our Lady of Guadalupe.JPG
This is the actual "'tilma" of Juan Diego, enshrined upon its own
altar made of different types of lumber drawn from every nation
 in the Americas, from Canada to Argentina
     A good treatise that is reasonably short yet complete about the events surrounding the various aspects of the Apparition can be found in a book under the title of "Roses for Mexico" by Ethel Cook Eliot.   It is classified as a fiction, but I have no idea why.   It is something between a gushy puff piece written by a Roman Catholic apologist fused with the reasonable understanding of conditions and events of those days in the 1530s in the high, cold, dank precincts of the new and burgeoning capital of New Spain....La Ciudad de Mexico.
     While the book has drawbacks, it is readable, has errors in history based on common understandings of the mid-1900s, and stays aimed at the intelligent swimmer entering into the shallow end of the pool.    It is a very good prologue for that intelligent person who would like to do deeper study into the phenomena.   Phenomena, did I say?   One should consider that 30,000,000 pilgrims, worshippers, tourists, and interested others arrive on the grounds and at the Basilica annually.  Official Church estimates of the numbers of visitors are kept around 12,000,000 to 15,000,000 but some say that this is to keep leftist politicians from ranting about "cultism" and currency with "In the Pope We Hope" instead of "Sufragio Efectivo, No Re-eleccion!"    The official count makes this Basilica the 2nd most visited in the entirety of Chistendom, following Saint Peter's in Vatican City.
      The smock, or tilma, of now Saint Juan Diego is still there to be seen, as it is by millions upon millions each year.   It has been analysed, investigated, purged, and surged, UV'd, IR'd, spectrachromaticised, curse't, damned, bless't, defended, threatened, defended again, and generally made into a symbol of Mexico and Christianity for now nearly 500 years.

     In any regard these celebrations for Saint Mary take place on the day 12 December, and after that Mexico generally goes 1/4 speed ahead, as 100,000,000 people take it easy until the day after the First Day of Epiphany (Three Kings) on the 6th of January.   After that the same 100,000,000 have to take off a week or so around St. Valentine's, just to rest up from their exhaustion from the December/January episode.

Tomorrow more about Father Obamaham and about Mexico.   Thanks for your attention.
El Gringo Viejo