I’m not, which is too bad because the Christmas celebration starts tomorrow; early. Very early. In fact too early which is part of the problem.

There is no doubt that I will be blasted out of bed long before daylight by surround sound fireworks. And not the little stuff oh no, it will be the big howitzer class rockets because tomorrow is an important day here in Mexico. December 1st is the kick off for the 12 Days of Christmas.

There will be massive amounts of ordnance shot from 4 different cathedrals that coincidentally lie on all 4 compass cardinal points; meaning I am surrounded.The closest church being 2 blocks to the west and the furthest two being 6 blocks to the north and south.

In conjunction there will be a parade up my street at 5:30 am. Not a procession mind you but a parade. Processions I perceive as generally quiet affairs while parades have things like marching bands. This all happens at 5:30 because it is important that they arrive at the Sanctuario no later than 6 am.

This parade will have upwards of a thousand people, at least three bands, and anywhere from 50 to 100 men on horseback. There is even drinking involved; especially by the cowboys. I know I couldn’t imagine being on horseback at dark-thirty without a bottle of tequila to fight off the pre-dawn chill.

The area just wrapped up 8 days of celebration last week that had bullfights over in Jiquilpan on the 20th, Mexican masked wrestling in the local arena on the 22nd, and live mariachis in the plaza every afternoon and evening to celebrate St. Cecelia; the patron saint of music.

Fiestas are serious business here. The St. Cecelia Fiesta was preceded by the Day of the Dead Fiesta that climaxed on November 2nd. I can’t remember the fiesta before the Day of the Dead; fiestas just kind of all run together.

Christmas doesn’t end until February 7th when the life sized nativity scene finally gets taken down in the plaza. I can’t imagine anything more cool than being a little kid in Mexico; a place where Christmas is 2 months long. There will be daily activities and parades throughout those 2 months. Every trade from carpenter to shopkeeper has their own parade day. I might march with the huaracheros this year. I was invited to last year but I considered myself too much of a newbie then to be worthy.

As a grouchy old gringo bastard I personally dread both Christmas and New Year’s Eve. There are street parties with music that go on until 6 am. Everybody participates; it’s tradition. Imagine if you will people camped in front of your house with a fire going in the street, cooking food, drinking tequila and playing music all freaking night long.

It’s almost 7 am and the sun is finally coming up although it won’t crest the mountain for another half hour. The sky is tangerine colored with streaks of blue and orange. I like this time of day. The only sounds are church bells, roosters and the occasional dog or two

Breakfast is an hour away. I am thinking pork short ribs in mole sauce, frijoles, and tortillas fresh off the grill.

Happy Holidays to you and yours.

Cheers. msg

Ah, Mexico.