The Fiesta of The Virgin of Guadalupe, celebrated in Mexico Dec. 9th – 12th, is one of the four big annual fiestas as celebrated locally here in Michoacán. (The other three are: Christmas Eve, New Years Eve, and Apostol Santiago on July 25th).
I call them big because the processions and party goes on all night long. Take for instance last night; the night of Dec 11th. The live music in the plaza went on until 1 am and then resumed at 5 am on the same morning. That was 2 hours before the sun raised its sleepy head. So just imagine getting yourself blasted out of bed with live and amplified mariachi music at dark- thirty. That’s Insane.
Today is [kind of] the last day (thank goodness) because I am still quivery and punchy from lack of sleep.
The fiestas here can all span weeks. Seriously. Wikipedia says The Day of the Dead begins Oct. 31st and ends Nov. 2nd. But that’s not true. Those time edges have been seriously blurred. The actual real celebration doesn’t really end until the end of the week of Nov. 2nd. And there are still events that last all the way through the entire month of November.
And The Fiesta de Apostol Santiago begins the beginning of July although the actual Saint’s Day isn’t until the 25th of July. So that’s three plus weeks of fiesta.
And Christmas starts Dec. 1st with The Twelve days of Christmas – featuring at the end, The Virgin of Guadalupe Fiesta – but doesn’t really end until they take down the Nativity Scene in the plaza on Feb. 6th.
I am not joking.
PS – The locals are kind of split on the whole noise issue. For instance my retired chem-engineer friend from Mexico City goes apoplectic anytime a car circles the plaza with their multi- speaker stereos blaring. He maintains that Mexico City created a city wide noise ordinance 30 years ago and the same should be done here.
And then there is the other camp who believes it is their sacred right to make music all night long. Someone asked me this morning, ‘Aren’t you religious?’ All because I had said in response to their question – ‘How was it for you last night?’ – ‘that is was one long, loud night.’ I even laughed as I said it as to tune down any perceived idea that I was being judgmental, yet still my faith in God got called into question. So for some, the pageantry and the noise is an integral part of their belief system. That is very interesting isn’t it?