Saturday, December 8, 2012

Mazamitla and The Bull On Fire

Twilight and the Mazamitla church
The month of December in Mexico is dominated by a plethora of Catholic celebrations.  December 12th is the official day of the Virgin of Guadalupe, the patron of Mexico, but the festivities start on December 1st, because...FIESTA!

The shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe is the most visited Catholic pilgrimage destination in the world. According to Wikipedia, over the Friday and Saturday of December 11 to 12, 2009, a record number of 6.1 million pilgrims visited the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City to commemorate the anniversary of the apparition  (more here if you're interested).

The festivities begin each evening with a parade through town to the plaza. Everyone comes out for this, either to watch, or to tag along to pay their respects to the Virgin. Indigenous groups from the area walk, dance, and stomp in elaborate costumes. Babies dress like revolutionaries and grow mustaches and goatees. It's great.

Each night, free entertainment is provided on the stage in front of the Virgin.  Quality varies. We've seen really good mariachi bands and really bad dance routines. Last night, mini-skirted girls danced (poorly) to Kool & The Gang's "Celebration", Michael Jackson's "Beat It", and Fergie's "My Humps". We're not sure the Virgin would approve, but the guy lifting up her skirt might.

Over the past week, we've been serenaded by the sounds of exploding fireworks as early as 5am and as late as 12am.  We've been told this will continue throughout December.We also witnessed the common running of El Torito (the little bull) in the town of Mazamitla, Jalisco. We were enjoying the band, lively vibe, plentiful food, and occasional fireworks when people started running for their lives.  For a split second, the only gringos in town considered hitting the ground for cover.  No sooner had we followed the crowd to the edge of the plaza, than a young man carrying an exploding array of fireworks (in the shape of El Torito), came crashing through the crowd.  Sparks were flying and little girls screamed.  Mexicans sure now how to celebrate!  What goes better with a crowded plaza than sparks, fire, and flaming debris? We met a couple of guys from Guadalajara who were visiting for the night who spoke English.  When we asked about El Torito, there response was something like: "oh, yeah, it used to be a lot worse".

The bull, the bull, the bull is on fire!


Anonymous said...

Beautiful pictures and awesome adventures as always! Thanks so much for sharing.

Unknown said...

Wow this is beautiful, thanks for share
costumes babies