photography, San Miguel de Allende

At Bellas Artes, listen to Frida, Che, and Emiliano: Wash up, wear a mask, vaccinate

Ok, you won’t listen to me or your brother or your doctor. Then try listening to a few icons of Mexican culture, like Che Guevara, Frida Kahlo, and Emiliano Zapata. During 2021, the artist Enrique Díaz has harnessed iconography and linoleum engraving art to deliver the ultimate survival message.

His works — this is only a sampling — is on display in Belles Artes, the recently reopened Centro Cultural Ignacio Ramírez El Nigromante at Calle del Dr Ignacio Hernandez Macias #75 in Centro.

Extra: Masked art — like these 10 murals — has been with us since the pandemic began

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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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Memoirs -- fact and fiction, photography, San Miguel de Allende

Early on a Friday morning in San Miguel de Allende, the Parroquia is for balletic pigeons

On a crisp Friday morning, bells peel, pigeons swoop and dive and disappear and return to encircle the spires of the Parroquia de Arc Angel Michael with a feathery halo, in San Miguel de Allende.

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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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photography, Rants and raves, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

An art project grows in San Miguel de Allende

I love this Bug.

It’s like something out of a Disney/Pixar movie where a once-beloved and cuddled family Bug grows old as the family grows up and is eventually abandoned in the Shed of Lost Car Souls where it withers, rusts, and decays for decades until the troubled teenage grandson discovers the car and with loving assistance from grandpa restores the Bug, restores his own self-confidence, and restores grandpa’s long-lost memories as he regales his grandson with tales of family road trips and adventures in this very same car — and in the end, grandpa and grandson trundle down the road in their magnificently restored Bug on the Mexican road trip of their lives.

Or, maybe not.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

On Dia de Los Muertos, even the dead love a good parade

Traffic finally emptied on the Ancha at 8 p.m. Monday and down the broad street, and out from the Rosewood resort, streamed hundreds of Catrinas, Catrinos, ghouls, skeletons, and even an underworld creature or two.

And they came on fast — as if all the pent-up energy from last year’s cancelled parade was unleashed atop this year’s and resulted in a headlong rush to the finish.

The crowd where Nemiseo Diaz meets the Ancha was so thick and eager that costumed paraders had to run a tight gauntlet, elbowing their way to the merger point.

It wasn’t so much a parade as a fast jog of the living dead in glorious technicolour and fabulous costumes. They marched, they merged, they posed for pictures, they trundled up Zacaterous, turned onto Canal and cascaded into the Plaza Principal where the crush of Catrinas and onlookers must have been something else.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende

Population boom around San Miguel — especially spooky couples — means Dia de Los Muertos is nearly here

This wedding couple, or someone very much like them, shows up on the El Cardo roundabout every year at this time. Always of comfort to see.

You meet the strangest characters on the streets of San Miguel de Allende at this time of year.

Bigger than life, a bit on the emaciated side, and not that responsive to a cheery hello. Their appearance marks the run-up to Dia de los Muertos — Day of the Dead — although I’m seeing that more and more in the plural, Days of the Dead, as just one day no longer seems enough.

Bars, hotels, and boutiques seem to especially revere the dead as they decorate and plan events for days leading up to the traditional Nov. 1 celebration. Door frames get beautiful floral treatments, too.

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photography, San Miguel de Allende, Writings

Step out for a cup of coffee in San Miguel and you could easily walk right into the dreams of others — if you believe in the magic

Maríela López González and her first mural in San Miguel de Allende, titled “El nacimiento del Sol y la Luna”.

You set out to get a quiet cup of coffee in the morning and by noon you are sitting down with two incredibly talented artists, discussing their work, their dreams, their ambitions.

That, my friends, is the magic of San Miguel de Allende.

That cup of coffee turned out to be not so quiet as I ended up at an outdoor cafe table with some of my Golosos pals — Efrain, Robert, Ben, Scott, and Colin. They’d been booted out of their regular haunt — guilty of possession of a couple of yipping dogs.

The proprietor told them that animals were now forbidden in food establishments by the city.

Hmmm.

Well, maybe noisy dogs. 

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