We have reached the middle of October and I’m sure many of you are finding yourselves planning for, or at least thinking about the Holiday season. Thanksgiving is only a little over a month away…and there is so much Christmas shopping that needs to be done. Every time you walk into a store you are surrounded with reminders that the Holiday season of 2010 is upon us. Well, the same is true here in Mexico.
The fall and winter are also the festive months in the Mexican culture. Our last post depicted the details of the apple festival that we attended, and we have booked our calendars with all sorts of other events here in Mexico that we will be attending. Seems like fun right? You might wonder, “Why are Pete and Liesl attending all these events? I thought they were learning Spanish.” Well, we are, but we are also learning about the Mexican culture here in Chihuahua and also in the smaller pueblos throughout the country, as these cultures in and of themselves are very different. With all of the Mexican holidays coming up there are dozens of opportunities for us to learn why the Mexican people do the things they do on these holidays, think the way they think, and value what they value. Our participation in these events gives us new insights into their culture, and are also great venues to practice our Spanish with our language helpers as we re-count these events to them in Spanish.
Starting the end of October and continuing through November and even December we will be posting about each of the holidays that we have observed here in Mexico and sharing photos and stories about them with all of you. Below I have mentioned several of the holidays and summarized what they are about – you can think of this as a preview for the culture we will be sharing with you all in the next couple months. Also, if you want or have extra time you can look into these holidays for yourself. Many of these holidays have Catholic, traditional, or a blend of origins.
31 de Octubre – Halloween
A borrowed holiday from the U.S., but many Mexicans participate in the same activities, dressing up and trick-or-treating. When arriving at homes, though, they don’t say “Trick or treat!” Instead, they shout “Queremos Halloween” which basically means “We want Halloween.”
1 & 2 de Noviembre – Ninos Santos (1) & Dia de los Muertos (All Saints & Day of the Dead)
In most parts of Mexico, November 1, which is known as All Saints/Souls Day elsewhere, is set aside for remembrance of deceased infants and children, often referred to as angelitos (little angels). Those who have died as adults are honored November 2, the Day of the Dead (and Pete’s birthday! Similar to if he were born on Halloween in the US). The Day of the Dead is celebrated in varying degrees. More to come on that.
20 de Noviembre – Dia de la Revolucion (Revolution Day)
This is the celebration and remembrance of the anniversary of the Mexican Revolution. On this day Mexicans commemorate the Mexican Revolution of 1910 to 1917 which was initiated by Francisco I. Madero and put an end to the dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. Many battles were fought here in Chihuahua. The old penitentiary two miles from our house still has bullet holes in it from the Revolution!