November, December and January are very busy months in Mexico as far as celebrations go. There is Day of the Dead November 1st and 2nd. Then we skip to December – the 12th is the official Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe. December 24th and 25th are Christmas Eve and Day, then New Year’s Eve and Day.
Besides the official December 12th day to celebrate the Virgin, each village has their own week to also celebrate. This morning, at 5am sharp was the start of our week. A band playing music, church bells, and, of course, firecrackers. At 5am, and, I believe, also 5:30 and 6am. I kept falling back to sleep so I cannot be sure if it was 5:30 and 6 or 5:30 OR 6am. This will be repeated another 3 times, and then start all over until the end of the final day – January 12th.
Oh, and I almost forgot, January 6th is Three Kings Day, AKA the Day of the Three Magi. But that will be a story for the near future. Today, I will concentrate on two days – New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day.
New Year’s Eve began, as most holidays, with a Mass at the Catholic Church. We then retired to Lourdes’ house for a dinner. She put together 2 long tables in her garage – actually more of a driveway between the walls of her house and the house next door and a roof above it.
Since alcohol is like a sleeping pill for me, I had a glass of wine instead of tequila and a glass or two of Coca Cola along with the food. We all had a lovely time eating and talking and waiting for the approach of midnight.
At midnight, we heard the church bells and fireworks, and then Lourdes’ husband brought out a big birthday cake, since January 1st is her birthday. We sang the birthday song, and a few minutes later, I heard a band approaching.
Unbeknownst to anyone else, her husband and son arranged for a brass band to come and serenade her for her birthday. The band members set their instruments up at the foot of the driveway in the street and began to play. And they were LOUD!!! But then, that is how it is here. Many nights I listen to music from one house or another – so loud you really can’t tell which house it is coming from – or what street, for that matter.
After the birthday song, they continued to play, and by 1:30am I was ready to go to sleep. They were still playing as I left and I could hear them from my house on the next block, but that didn’t keep me from falling asleep.
The next day, we went for lunch to a nice restaurant, where I had never been before in Montitlán called La Cabaña de mi General. Very nice landscaping and very good food – not too spicy, but lots of meat.
As we started to eat, we heard music and the unmistakable sound of horses. There was a cabalgata – a parade of horses. So we went to the upper floor to watch,
and then headed back downstairs to eat.
After the meal, the day wasn’t over yet. We then headed over to a park called Laguna Carrizalillos. I had often passed a sign for that place while driving, but had never been there.
It is a very large park, with areas for camping, a large lake for boating and stands where people sell food and drink. There was also an area with swings and other equipment for children to play. Across the lake was a beautiful view of the volcano, and on our side many strange trees. In the United States we are used to seeing daisies as flowers in the ground, but here they were growing on trees.
And so ends my story of New Year’s Eve 2018 – the end of one year and the start of another, hopefully bringing good things to all. Not as exciting a holiday as some may have had, but very pleasant and definitely different than any other that I have experienced.
Until next time – Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and safe New Year!