photography, San Miguel de Allende

Crèche course

Sometime between Thursday night when I left San Miguel de Allende and Saturday night when I returned, the life-size crèche popped up in the Jardin Principal, just across from Parroquia San Miguel Arc Angel.

Just in time, too. The plaza will be the final stop on the nine-night journey of Joseph and Mary in search of a place to rest and give birth to the baby Jesus, Dec. 16-24. Eight other communities in San Miguel have each, in turn, held a Posada which ends with pageantry, music, gifts, food, pinatas, celebration, and veneration.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Christmas in the times of Pastorela and Posadas

Updated with a list of public Posadas in San Miguel de Allende, courtesy of San Miguel FAQ

Monday afternoon, the children are in full-dress on the plaza of Parroquia San Antonio de Padua, in Colonia San Antonio for the traditional Pastorela. They have been rehearsing on the same patio most afternoons. They would sit in a circle and run through their parts with several ladies who show great gentleness, humor, and patience.

The Pastorela pageant recounts the adventures of the shepherds as they head to Bethlehem to worship the newly born baby Jesus on Christmas Day. They face numerous temptations — as you can see, an exuberant band of devils — and in some tellings, it is St. Michael who comes to their rescue. Go, San Miguel!

The Pastorela as a theatrical piece and oral story tradition has been embellished, modernized, changed in tone, and grown as any living, breathing thing — but the essential tale of trials, temptation, salvation, and redemption remains the same.

Another wonderful tradition, Las Posadas, will be celebrated in Mexico on Dec. 16-24 and follows the journey of Jesus and Mary from Nazareth to Bethlehem. On each of the nine nights, the procession heads out to a specific home seeking comfortable lodging for Mary to give birth. Families, children, musicians, singers, and others follow Mary and Joseph each night.

Of course, they are turned away (but rarely without treats and beverages.) When they end up back at the church, the children are given the chance to crack open star-shaped pinatas and scramble for the treats that spill to the ground.

Las Posadas tradition has existed for 440 years in Spain and Mexico.

Here is a list of public Posadas in San Miguel de Allende, courtesy of San Miguel FAQ:

  • December 16 : Corn Valley . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 17: Colonia San Luis Rey . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 18: Colonia San Rafael . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 19: Colonias Infonavit Allende . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 20: Colonia La Aurora . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 21: Colonia Allende . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm
  • December 22: Colonia Guadalupe . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm (there will be Pastorela)
  • December 23: Colonia San Felipe Neri . Atrium of the temple. 6:30 pm (there will be Pastorela)
  • December 24: Historic Center . Nativity in the Main Garden. 6:30 pm

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

San Miguel’s tree lighting ceremony and holiday lights show kick off with a bang

Tonight was the official tree-lighting ceremony in San Miguel de Allende. As always with any ceremony here, that includes a bodacious fireworks display. The fireworks seemed to go on forever. What a sight!

All the white fairy lights in the park and those covering the seven streets entering into the public square were lit as well. As the Atencion newspaper put it this week: they “seem like a path of stars.”

Rose and I walked into the square (Jardine Principal) just as the countdown began.

What a show!

Scroll through the pictures and be sure to check out the videos at the end. Turn the volume up to 10!

Merry Christmas!

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Poinsettias in the parque principal of Parroquia plaza, San Miguel de Allende

The main square in Centro, Jardin Allende, flows red with poinsettias — while in the trees above, white fairy lights twinkle after the sun sets. San Miguel de Allende awaits Christmas with color, beauty, eagerness, and joy.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

In San Miguel de Allende, don we now our holiday apparel — and a fond farewell to Mr. Holiday, Colin Harnett

One thing San Miguel de Allende does well is dress up for the holidays.

Not just San Miguel. Every village, town, and city in the country brings out a million white lights, an enormous community tree, a life-size Nativity scene, and an infectious cheeriness that makes you glad to be living in Mexico.

Which I happen to do.

So here is a small collection of what is ahead in December.

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Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Movie review: “A Boy Called Christmas” lives up to his name & a holiday film classic is born

The Christmas origin story has taken a real beating on television in recent years.

The film factories don’t follow a script. The have a playbook. There are fixed characters, types. There are predictable situations. There are tried and true bromides. There are fixed plays. And there are utterly predictable endings in which the “true meaning” of Christmas is disgorged just before credits roll.

And the sudden appearance of the much-anticipated snowfall at the end is a complete surprise to everyone but the audience.

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