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.
She’s right, you know, my new friend from the housewarming party the other night: I haven’t written on the blog in a long time.
I owe you all an apology, if, indeed, you actually missed me.
If not, then, hi! Welcome (back) to my blog.
You know how these things happen — someone starts a blog and it goes great for a while, then a pandemic strikes, and life as we know it is suspended. So the writer begins writing interior monologues, surreal short stories, overly long recollections about that dream from last night, and, in the worst of cases, poetry.
So here we are now at 6,200 feet enjoying incredibly mild weather yearlong, a severe drought and growing water shortage, unrestrained development, and a once-exuberant city that has almost withered away under the relentless grind of Covid restrictions.
Signs of life are returning to San Miguel de Allende.
This is how things work in magical San Miguel de Allende:
Susan Campbell Skinner lives on the corner of Refugio and Orizaba in Colonia San Antonio. Across the street is Dona Rosa’s tienda where she buys organic eggs, produce, and fresh squeezed orange juice.
Susan does not know Rosa well but she feels a kindred spirit. She feels like Rosa is always looking out for her and her casa when she is away. This is what neighbors do for each other here in San Miguel de Allende.
So, Susan wanted to do something nice for her neighbor.