Mexico's Bicentennial Independence Celebrations

by Judy King 15. September 2010 10:27

Outabout7hidalgo The 16th of September of 1810 marked the beginning of Mexico's struggle for independence from Spain. While the United State's July 4 celebration is termed Independence Day, and Canada's July 1 celebration of unity is called Canada Day, Mexico's September celebrations are las fiestas patrias.

Mexico's war for freedom began several months earlier than planned when organizers realized that information had been leaked to the Spanish. Near midnight on September 15, 1810, Father Miguel Hidalgo, the parish priest of Dolores, Guanajuato, summoned the townspeople to the church and spoke passionately, urging the farmers to take up arms against Spain.

This cry for freedom, El Grito de Dolores, is re-enacted at 11 PM on September 15 in the town square of the towns and villages across the republic. While Hidalgo's speech was not recorded for posterity, a celebratory address of patriotism is presented by the President of Mexico, the governor of each state, and the highest ranking official of each pueblo.

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Custom and legend causes each speech to conclude with a series of cries for unity believed to include some of the thoughts that the Father of the Mexican independence uttered in his original grito and the people respond to each cry with a resounding VIVA!

Viva Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe (Long Live Our Lady of Guadalupe) 

Viva las Americas (Long Live the Americas)

Viva México! (Long Live Mexico)

The grito, dancing, and other activities on the night of September 15 are the prelude to Mexico's Independence Day. Based on publicity North of the Border, many North Americans assume that Mexico's independence celebration is the 5th of May. Cinco de Mayo commemorates the victory of 4,000 Mexican soldiers over 8,000 of Napoleon III's best-trained French forces in the city of Puebla—in 1862. Although it was a triumphant victory for Mexican soldiers, the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862, was waged 51 years after the last of the defeated Spanish forces left Mexico.

Following Hidalgo's cry for freedom, which was also a cry for the end of slavery and independence, the village priest led the townspeople from the small church waving a banner bearing the likeness of the country's patron, the Virgin of Guadalupe. By the end of the first month thousands of untrained but determined farmers and workers had taken up the fight.

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In Chapala and Ajijic the 16 de septiembre (16th of September) mid-morning parades feature the area's charros (working horsemen) who still ride under the banner of the Virgin of Guadalupe and the Mexican flag. In the days of Spanish rule, only the wealthy, upper class landowners were allowed to ride horses—and of course their serf-like workers, who broke, trained and cared for the livestock. It was the skills of the charros who changed the balance of power during this and following wars.

honor-guard DCP_8640 Thousands of Lakeside school children are an important part of the celebration of their nation's freedom. Pristinely dressed in their school uniforms, they all march in parades in Chapala, San Antonio Tlayacapan, Ajijic, San Juan Cosalá and Jocotepec.

Children are featured participants in many of the activities on September 15 and 16. A time-honored tradition in Ajijic involves the organization of old-time games and contests for the kids. Beginning around 4 p.m. today, the games are held in the town plaza and include a greased pig contest in which the lucky boy who can catch and hold the pig can take his prize home to raise and fatten. Lard is used to coat a six meter (approximately 18 feet) high pole which is set up in the street near the plaza for the palo encebado (greased pole). Children try to shinny up the pole in order to claim donated prizes fastened at various heights and at the top. The attempts to win these contests can be hilarious and provide spectators an afternoon of old fashioned fun.

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Here is a rundown of usual times of local fiestas patrias activities today and tomorrow. Remember that Lakeside’s smaller towns – San Antonio Tlayacapan, San Juan Cosalá, El Chante and San Cristobal for example will be hosting their own grito ceremonies on Saturday night and parades on Sunday.

Date

Time

Place

Activity

September 15

4 p.m.

Ajijic Plaza

Contests

September 15

Dusk

Stage at on Ajijic and Jocotepec Plazas and near Chapala Malecon & municipal building

Entertainment, music, dance, presentation of queen and princesses

September 15

11 p.m.

Stage areas

Grito with fireworks following

September 15

Midnight

Town plazas and surrounding streets

Popular bands and dancing

September 16

9:30 or 10 a.m.

Jocotepec, Chapala and Ajijic

Parades ending at plazas

September 16

After parade

City plazas

Honors to Flag

September 16

Afternoon

Lienzo Charro rings in Ajijic, Jocotepec and Chapala

Charro events (rodeos)

September 16

Night

Plaza in Ajijic

War of Flowers -- Patrias Queen promenades in the plaza, as the people strew confetti and flowers

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One of the great disappointments during this and other Mexican holidays is the lack of foreigners participating in the events. All of the special activities of the fiestas patrias are great fun, colorful photo opportunities, and a way for us to demonstrate our unity with our Mexican neighbors.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

A Weekend of Old Time Events

by Judy King 10. September 2010 19:53

balloon-orange Mexico is a land of contrasts. While large corporations in Mexico do business at the cutting edge of technology, other businesses are happy to lag comfortably behind, with shop owners still behind the counter.

In this area where families stroll to the center of town or to the malecon at the lake’s edge to relax in the cool breezes on summer evenings, it should come as no surprise that traditional Lakeside events surrounding the annual September Independence Day celebration reflect the area’s by-gone days.

There is a menu full of these old-time activities this weekend here at Lake Chapala from which to choose – the problem is finding time and energy to take part in everything! 

Globos – Your First Priority

Ok, so I’ll make this decision for you – then you fill the rest of the time. If you’ve never attended Ajijic’s Regatta de Globos (Event of Hot Air Balloons) on the Saturday before Independence Day (September 16) you’ve got to make time to see them.

Hurry! The Globos start heading up into the sky about 3 p.m. Saturday (tomorrow) at the soccer field across the street from Salvador’s restaurant.

Globos? Hot Air Balloons? 

Sorry, this isn’t the Albuquerque Hot Air Balloon show – there won’t be anyone riding in these crafts or noisy blowers inflating them, and the sky won’t be filled with towering commercial vessels. But, as far as I’m concerned, these motor-less hand-crafted aircraft are even more amazing than those that take folks over California’s wine country.

Each of the several hundred balloons which will attempt to take flight on Saturday afternoon and evening has been recently handmade from -- tissue paper. Yep, dozens of sheets of colorful tissue paper that have been meticulously (or not) fastened together – more or less air tight – with bottles and gallons of white school glue!

When I heard that, I envisioned balloons about two or three feet tall – a cute and pleasant past-time for a holiday weekend afternoon – right? Well, not quite.

balloon-ajijic balloon-team

While you’ll see balloons that are traditionally shaped in a riot of colors, wait till the dozens of teams get their paper and small inflation fires warmed up and start filling their masterpieces with hot air. (A

You may see that “lucky ole sun, a nearly full-sized yellow school bus, a VW Bug, hearts, butterflies and  -- well the sky isn’t the limit in this sport – with any luck at all, the sky is only the beginning.

balloon-car balloon-bumps

Globos seem to be much more of a traditional event in Ajijic than in other Lakeside villages – in fact, at one time the Globo competition was held in conjunction with the November Fiestas of Ajijic – the nine-day celebration honoring Ajijic’s patron, San Andres (St. Andrew).

There was just one big problem with sending tissue paper creations high into the sky until they dissolved into flames and fell, tumbling onto the mountainside at that time of year. The corn crops on the mountain were fully mature, with tinder-dry leaves. The way I heard the story was that Morley Eager, the patriarch of the family that now owns La Nueva Posada and then were the hosts of the Posada Ajijic, had organized the regatta and was very pleased with the number of entrants and the fruits of their labors.

Morley was particularly pleased with his own entry -- biggest and best balloon sponsored by the Posada. It made it off the launch site, sailed off higher in the air than most, then suddenly, in the agony of defeat, the tissue paper caught from the heat source and fell like a stone into a corn field which immediately burst into flame – destroying the farmer’s whole crop.

balloon-saucer balloon-sun balloon-spikes

The story probably  would have ended there…if Morley, with his typical marketing finesse hadn’t insisted that the balloons he sponsored be proudly emblazoned with not only the hotel’s name, but also his own…in several locations. Seems there was just enough of the vessel left for the farmer to identify the “owner” of the craft that wiped out his season’s work and bring the charred remains to the locally famous innkeeper.

Always the gentleman, Morley paid up, in full…even though he thought it seemed strange at the time that that particular field was said to have yielded more corn than any other space twice the size.

Don’t forget – 3 p.m. Saturday, September 11 at the soccer field at the head of the tianguis street (Calle Revolucion). Be there…or miss all the thrills, spills and laughter.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Aging with Dignity and Joy

by Judy King 28. August 2010 10:32

clip_image003 As I travel through Lakeside's villages and towns, I continually notice the elderly residents involved in daily life. In Mexico the aged family members don't ordinarily leave their families to live in special homes for the elderly. Those who eventually need assistance in their daily routine find that help right at home, within the extended family.

(At Right:) An elderly San Juan Cosalá resident watches the movements of the caged canary in a carnival game of chance.

The lifestyles of the local elderly extend far beyond knitting, watching TV and games of gin. Great-grandfathers hold small pudgy hands as they walk with tiny tots to the corner and back. Grandmothers rock little ones and help with kitchen chores, while grandfathers weave new seats on chairs and light cooking fires.

When it comes to village social life, everyone participates—from the newest babes to oldsters nearing the century mark. I was amazed when I first watched the participants in a religious procession. I enjoyed the Indian dancers and bands, but I was simply amazed to see the vast number of old folks walking the two or three mile course, some with canes, others leaning on the arms of teenage grandchildren.

edtior-donamaria(At Left:) You’ll meet Dona Maria and several of her Nestipac neighbors in Phyllis Rauch’s Soul of Mexico article in the September 2010 issue of Living at Lake Chapala. Photo by Phyllis Rauch

When I described the scene to friends, we improvised the conversations we imagined would have taken place should one's elders back home have suggested participating in a similar event.

"Now Mother, you know there will be a huge crowd, and it will be hot and dusty. We'll just take the car and park at one of the intersections so you can see it all go by. Won't that be nice?"

"Dance? You want to dance in a procession? Dad, I have so much to do today I won't even have time to fix your lunch. And you want to dance? On the cobblestones? You'll break a hip."

"I really think it would be best if you just stayed at the home in the afternoons. If you insist on walking downtown every afternoon, we may have to look into that elderly daycare service.”

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(Above:) It’s not unusual to see people of “the third age” as it is so wonderfully called in Mexico, walking, dancing, playing music in local processions. At right above is Dona Reina, another of Phyllis Rauch’s  Nestipac neighbors from the upcoming Soul of Mexico article)

Since that first procession, I've spotted many of Lakeside's seasoned citizens not just attending, but actively participating in the celebrations, processions, and daily village events. Here’s a look at our Mexican neighbors in their golden years.

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(Left) A tiny older woman sits in the waning afternoon sun near her altar to the Virgin of Guadalupe. (Right) Mama Chuy, the matriarch of an Ajijic family marches home with enough flowers to decorate all of the family graves for Day of the Dead.

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(Left) A group of gentlemen gather every afternoon on their favorite plaza bench in the center of town. (Right) Nearby, their female counterparts exchange bits of daily news as they rest in the plaza sunshine.

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(Left) A grandmother joins friends to watch a San Juan Cosalá procession featuring elderly dancers. (Right) A local couple waits in the churchyard for the arrival of the bride, their great-niece.

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(Left) Proudly 87 years old, a woman unpacks the goods she will sell during an outdoor market. (Right) The peanut seller and his wife, the cascarones (confetti filled egg shells)seller, take a break in the plaza.

Looking around, it's pretty obvious that the elderly in Mexico are cherished, revered and considered a viable part of the community. Precious few need the services of a home for the elderly, they are still an active and vital part of their extended family unit.

This attitude toward the elders is just another of the reasons we so value spending our retirement years here, where young people are taught the value of their elders and we, too, are treated with increasing respect and can learn from and share in the respectful attitudes and benefits.


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Living at Lake Chapala’s August Issue

by Judy King 1. August 2010 15:14

Wow, it’s the First Day of this year’s EIGHTH month! 
I can barely believe that this month marks the three-quarters mark of 2010. We are having another great year here at Living at Lake Chapala. In fact, nine members of our writing team has been out gathering information for our all new August issue. We've prepared a little bit of everything this month — take a look at this summary of our new articles.

image A Sailor Run Aground

Jim Tipton is introducing you to one of his very good friends in this month's Community Article. If you've not yet met Ken and Lise Clarke, you'll want to after you read about how this Lakeside couple met aboard ship and fell instantly head over heels in love. This is a love story with lasting power — when they reached dry land, they raised a family and then moved to Lakeside for retirement — and so Ken could write his story of the years at sea.

Mexico's Traditional Music

Mexico is a land of eternal music — it's part of the lifestyle — it's part of life. What's Mexico's most popular music? That, like most things in this land of contrasts, depends. There are those who would vote for orchestras playing classical music, or for classic rock and roll. More traditionally, you'd have a giant pile of votes for mariachi — that smooth blend of violins, guitars and trumpets. Earning just as much (or more) devotion from residents in central and northern Mexico would be the bandas — the groups of trumpets, trombones, clarinets, and percussion that play a type of music that sounds a little like a sharply uniformed military brass marching band colliding with The Six Fat Dutchmen Polka Band.


(Left:) A youthful group of musicians — a banda plays traditional music on the Ajijic plaza. (Right:) Bandas of all levels of fame and popularity perform in Lakeside's villages. This group came from a nearby town to play in an Ajijic club on July 17. The big name groups come to town for the annual fiesta and during mardi gras.

As Micki Wendt explains in this month's Out and About column, this isn't all about John Phillip Sousa, and it's not about Lawrence (a-one and a-two) Welk (but it helps if you were in your high school marching band and lived in the upper Midwest near a German or Polish population.) Banda music is a Mexican hybrid, and it's the love of the nation.

You may not think you know banda, but you've heard it — the bad, the ok, the good, and the really good. You're apt to hear it every time you pass a construction site or wait at a stop light behind a car with a throbbing stereo, or hear the marching band marching around town at 7 a.m. during fiesta. So far you've probably been more annoyed than in love, but give this article and the links to some professional videos a chance…you may be surprised!


Mexican banda members are snappy dressers. (Left:) This Chapala group was performing right outside the municipal building one evening — all in white and that shade of hot pink that here is called Rosa Mexicana. (Right:) Ajijic's Banda Incomparable was sporting new suits at last year's fiesta — their logo is embroidered on the back of the jackets.

Really Great Karma and  A Cookbook for a Cause

We're fixated this month on great food prepared by sets of Mexican sisters with great ideas and big hearts. First in the Mexican Kitchen, Harriet Hart is visiting a new restaurant on Calle Hidalgo in Ajijc which is owned and operated by Margarita and Rocio del Castillo. These vegetarian sisters recently moved from their home town — Guadalajara — and opened one of the cutest lunch spots in town — Buen Karma.

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Then former mental health professional Carol Bowman interviewed a trio of Guadalajara women — the Levy sisters — who have turned their skills in the kitchen into a cookbook (written in Spanish) and then turned the cookbook into a fundraising tool with proceeds going toward their pet project — a mental health center in Jalisco's capital city. You'll enjoy meeting the Levy sisters and learning about their favorite non-profit in this month's Health and Safety column.

The New Expat Radio Station for English Speakers

Then Judy is bringing you something very new — online radio for expats! Yep, Amigo Rodrigo is spinning American music on a 24-hour-a-day radio station — along with Mexican news and weather in English, Spanish vocabulary words and other specialty bits of information — and you can listen to it all on your computer. It couldn't be easier. Catch up with all of this in the Feature Article.

Back to School (Times Two) and Attending the Ballet 
What fun, we've devoted two slots this month to how foreigners at Lakeside get involved in the community, and take on some or all of the school expenses for slightly overwhelmed local families. While there are a dozen or more groups and organizations who are creating scholarships to pay the expenses so local kids can continue to attend classes — from Kinder through Grad School — our Cost of Living and Soul of Mexico columns tell how individuals are making a difference here at Lake Chapala.

First up Georgina Russell is back, this time in our Cost of Living slot explaining how she administers a fund for area kids. Who started this fund and this program? A trio of New York kids who were visiting their relatives at Lakeside! Now the US kids come back every year to see how the money they've raised in their home town and New York schools is being put to use here.


(Left:) One of the special joys of being a sponsor to a Lakeside student is being included in graduations, programs and special school events. (Right:) The ballet at Lake Chapala? You bet. And Scott Richards enjoyed it all – see his report in this month’s People, Places and Things.

Then long-time Lakeside resident, Phyllis Rauch explains how she and her late husband became involved in helping to educate the members of a family in their village of Nestipac. While Phyllis dreamed at first of "their kids" becoming doctors, lawyers and engineers, she reflects on how it's all worked out in real life and beautifully illustrates the Soul of Mexico piece with photos of her current (and we suspect her favorite) student Daniela.

Saving the Wild Orchids

Artist Janice Kimball delves into the world of Mexican wild orchids this month in our Homes and Lodging column. You'll enjoy her story of how she came to fall in love with these tender exotic beauties — years ago in the middle of an all-too-long Detroit winter. Now she's on a soapbox, helping us learn to protect the wild orchids from area mountains — and best of all she tells us where to find lovely, not-endangered, plants in local nurseries.


(Left:) These lavender beauties were once wild orchids in the Jalisco mountains above Lake Chapala. They've been blooming on a tree in Ajijic now for nearly 15 years. (Right:) Leave the wild orchids to bloom for another year in the mountains. Local nurseries have a lovely selection of hybrid orchids at very reasonable prices.

Planning for Singles

And to wrap up the issue, Judy is exploring some tips for singles living at Lakeside. It's just so important to form a support group and then finalize some of the necessary plans so that your friends will easily be able to help your children should you be recovering from illness or surgery and when you die. Look for this so very important information in the Getting Here space.

Are you a Living at Lake Chapala Subscriber?

That’s our rundown this month – and now, while you read these pieces we are already working on our Big Blowout Bicentennial Celebration for the September issue of Living at Lake Chapala. We’d love to have you become one of our family of subscribers and we’re betting you’ll love reading the very best online magazine about life in Mexico. Did we mention that subscribers have access to on-line support – we’re always here to answer your email questions! What a deal that is!


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

Party in a Box

by Judy King 15. July 2010 08:54

DCP_2300 There is a wonderfully strange party phenomenon here in Mexico. After experiencing it for several years, I have finally come up with a name for it. I call it "Party in a Box."

In advance of all sorts of occasions, nothing happens, nothing happens, nothing happens and then, whomp...a full-fledged, wonderful party materializes.

The first time I witnessed Mexican actually create a party was in my own garden, and I couldn't believe my eyes. About three weeks before the event, my Maria asked to use my garden for her child's fifth birthday party.

"Of course," I said, secretly flattered that the family wanted to have the party at my house. I asked Maria what I could do to help, with a machine gun rattle of questions:

  • Should I rent tables and chairs?
  • Do you need my gardener to move some of the garden furniture?
  • What are we going to serve? pinatas
  • Where should we put the rope and pulley for the piñatas?
  • How many people will there be? What time will the party begin?
  • Do we need to put up the white miniature lights?
  • Will my coolers be large enough for the drinks?"

I wondered why sweet, quiet Maria looked a little frightened; surely it wasn't my barrage of questions. Good heavens, if she didn't have all those details organized, I was glad I had brought them up so she could get the party planned. Maria ducked her head and quietly said, "Vamos a ver." (We'll see).

Two weeks before the party, I stopped in to see Maria to find out why she had not been in touch with party details. I asked most of the same questions plus, "What are you going to do for decorations? What size tables are you going to use? Do you have enough tablecloths? What is the theme?"

jello Maria looked worried and touched my cheek as though she was checking a child for a fever. She patted my hand and told me she would let me know what I should do. At least now she was concerned about all she still had to do before the party. As I closed the car door, I heard her say, "Vamos a ver."

A week before the party, we played out the same scene, but with some new questions. Now, though the conversations occurred every day – after all it was the last week. Meanwhile I became more and more worried about the outcome of this obviously unplanned party, Maria seemed more and more concerned as well. In those daily calls after I asked about the party, she asked how I was feeling. Then she quietly reassured me, "Vamos a ver."

On the day of the party, I was totally stressed out. I had a horrid headache, my feet hurt from walking to the door multiple times to see if anyone was coming to begin preparations. When I stopped in at Maria's house I saw no bags or bundles of party supplies. Maria  even turned down my offer of a ride into Guadalajara to find matching tablecloths, napkins, paper plates and cups, centerpieces, party hats and favors, saying, "Vamos a ver."

By noon, my pulse throbbed in my temples. I called her. "Maria," I spoke perhaps a bit loudly and sternly. "What about this party? Are you still going to have it today? Nothing is happening. When do you expect to get things going over here? Guests could arrive before you are ready. What time are the guests expected? What are you going to do to entertain all those kids?"

musical chairs

You know what Maria said? She said, "Don't worry, Señora Judy. The party isn't until three or four this afternoon. The guests won't come until then. Vamos a ver"

The birthday boy's older sisters arrived at 2:45. Each carried a small bag from the papeleria (stationery store). Two cousins followed them in the door carrying slightly larger bags. More girls showed up at the door and the next time I looked into the garden, they were working in pairs, blowing up multicolored balloons and tying them onto strings to make a canopy across the garden. Other girls strung lines of intricately cut tissue paper, papel picado between the rows of balloons.

 

pinata1 pinata2

The next time I answered the door, I found Maria with three of her sisters, each carrying a huge brown clay pot. One sister carried potato salad, another beans, and the third chile con carne. Maria struggled with a black garbage bag of tostados in one hand and a bag of white Styrofoam plates, stacks of plastic glasses and a quart bottle of hot sauce in the other. Mama, bringing up the rear, clutched bags filled with heads of lettuce, tomatoes, some onions and of all things, a tiny food processor. Mama set up shop in my kitchen, chopping and shredding condiments for the tostados.

By the time the sisters had organized my garden tables into serving areas, other women arrived with giant plastic bowls of jewel-toned gelatin, (Mexicans serve birthday cake and gelatin, probably a reflection on how few homes have freezers to keep ice cream cold until serving time). A teenaged boy carried in a 5-gallon water bottle filled with strawberry agua fresca and his little brothers brought an enormous package of napkins, a small stereo and cassette tapes.

The six piñatas were whisked into the front bedroom of the house, along with the bags of oranges, tangerines, balloons, candy and tiny toys to fill them. I didn't see all of the piñatas in my weakened state, but when I peeked in, the decorating girls were stuffing treats into a boat, Spiderman, a donkey, and a huge yellow Big Bird.

candle Mordita---Bite face

Two of the teenaged aunties set out adorable little paper bags onto a couple trays and filled them with popcorn and candies. These clown-decorated bags were the "bolas" or favors. Before they finished putting in the last lollipops, the men arrived with the biggest cooler I had ever seen. Its six-foot length amply held bags of ice for the children's agua fresca and still had space to cool several cases of beer for the adults.

While the men carried in stacks of folding chairs and tables, I glanced at my watch. It was just after four. I looked up in time to see Maria's husband struggling through the door with a giant decorated sheet cake and an even larger grin. I was starting to feel really good about the whole event we had planned here. I turned to Maria, "Do you think that will be enough beer? There are a lot of people here."

Maria just smiled and said "Vamos a ver."


Judy King is publisher of Mexico Insights—Living at Lake Chapala, a monthly online magazine for people interested in Mexico's Lake Chapala region, in the state of Jalisco.

Judy, a 19-year resident of Ajijic on Lake Chapala's north shore, conducts weekly newcomer's seminars and shares her expertise about Mexico in her ezine at www.mexico-insights.com, and in the "Mexico Lindo" column of the Lake Chapala Review.

Judy also is a speaker for local organizations and visiting tour groups about the Lakeside area about Mexican customs and holidays.

About Judy King

Judy King

Hi There — Welcome to my little corner of the world. I'm Judy King and I live in the centuries-old village of Ajijic on the north shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico's largest natural lake.

I've lived here full time since 1990, and... [ more ]

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