The time around the Day of the Dead is filled with interesting things to do and see. I have already written about the big celebration in the Ajijic plaza with the Zombie Thriller dance and parade, pumpkin carving contest and art and craft show. These life sized, actually larger than life sized, Catrina Dolls were also out on the Ajijic and Chapala plazas. They were created by the school children with help from local artists. Most of them were made out of recycled materials. They were a lot of fun to see and photograph. I hope you enjoy them as much as I did.
Each Doll had a plaque with the doll’s name, yes they were named, and the school and artists who helped make it. One of the things that I enjoyed most was photographing people as they related to the dolls. Some of the dolls were named after famous people, such as Frida Kahlo. (more…)
Saturday, October 26th, was a big day for Ajijic. There were several things happening in the Ajijic Plaza and the entire area was packed with participants and curious onlookers. The Michael Jackson Thriller Dance was one event. This is a worldwide dance to raise money for different charities. In Ajijic, it is for the Local Red Cross. People dressed in the zombie makeup and costumes were mixed in with the crowds before the dance. The children loved this event.
The women in the photo above were part of the zombie dancers. They were posing for another photographer but I jumped in and took one too. They were too cute to resist. Cute? Maybe that isn’t the right word. (more…)
This year we were lucky. The Globos Celebration came off without rain but as you can see from these photos, the sky was very overcast. The next day it started raining and we have had rain for days now. The gods must have been looking down on us last Saturday to keep the rains at bay for the day. The date was Sept. 14th and the place was the grounds on Revolucion street. In order to save myself a good seat, I arrived almost three hours early. I will have to remember next year. Don’t go before around four thirty in the afternoon. By the time the bigger globos are being put up, I am too tired to stay when I arrive that early. No reason to have a seat in the grandstands anyway. It is better to arrive late and just walk around in the field. You can get much better photos from the field and it is like a giant party out there.
The globos are made out of what is called China Paper. It is extremely thin paper and slick. It is light so there won’t be much weight on the globos as they go up but also it burns quickly. The photo above is the globo commissioned by Accesslakechapala.com. Of course, I wanted to put theirs on at the beginning of this article. Since I left before it went up, I don’t know if it survived the launching. Access paid a group of young people to make this globo for them. Many of the larger ones have the names of their sponsors on them. (more…)
I decided to take some of my favorite photos and write an overview of living in the lakeside area. My first impulse was to put on photos of all the holidays and celebrations. That proved to be too large of a task. I looked online at Mexican Holidays. There were nine major holidays listed and twenty nine ones that are called Observance days and four Season days. I have no idea of how many other days the actually Mexican’s celebrate. It feels like one every week. There always seems to be at least one celebration and several parties going on at once. Don’t come to Mexico to live if you don’t want to experience celebrations, parties and parades.
There are so many parades in the Lakeside area that I can’t even begin to remember them, let alone list where these parade photos came from. I guess it doesn’t make a great deal of difference. They are all beautiful and fun. But if you are at a parade and you get tired, you can just sit down in a quiet place and rest for awhile, like the little girl in the next photo.
Children’s Day was Tuesday April 30th in Mexico. No classes on that day, just games and parties, pinatas and other great things for the children to do. In 1954, the General Assembly of the United Nations recommended that all countries institute a Universal Children’s Day. So this is a huge holiday all over the world, not just in Mexico. Most countries celebrate it on June 1st. The celebration in this article was held on Sunday, April 28th, a few days before the official Children’s day.
The town plans for this holiday for months in advance, collecting money from different organizations and individuals. I talked with a man from the Association of Charros (the Cowboys). He said they were helping out with everything, including donating money. Check out the photo below. They were mixing up the sweet drinks in garbage cans because those were the largest containers they could find. (more…)
Escaramuza in Spanish means skirmish. Another meaning is, “Riding from the heart.” This one took place at the Ajijic bull ring on Sunday, April 7th. 2013. It was an all woman’s horse show. It was a combination of equestrian skills, handcrafted tack, beautiful costumes, music and food. It is a rich heritage of living folk traditions dating back hundreds of years.
Tickets were eighty pesos at the door. I loved watching the little boy helping his father collect the tickets. He was so proud to be of use. (more…)
Mardi Gras is a French word meaning Fat Tuesday. Fat Tuesday refers to eating rich and fatty foods the day before fasting of the Lent Season. Ash Wednesday starts off Lent. Fat Tuesday is sometimes referred to as Shrove Tuesday from the word Shrive. Shrive means “confess” which relates to the Lent season. Fat Tuesday is the last day of Carnival season, a time of parties and letting go of inhibitions before the season of fasting, obligations and confessions of Lent. For sure, people at the Mardi Gras parade in Ajijic yesterday were letting go of their inhibitions and having fun.
Crowds were gathered all along the road, anxiously awaiting the parade. The tradition of wearing masks and costumes, overturning social conventions, dancing, and parades was very much alive at this year’s Fat Tuesday.
The second annual Open Studios Tour was the weekend of February 9th and 10th, 2013, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. It was a benefit for the Artists of the Ajijic Society for the Arts and the Children’s Art Program at the Lake Chapala Society. The locations of the studios were given out in a booklet form along with photos of artwork done by the different artists. Cost was only 50 pesos for two people. The work ranged from textile, jewelery, paintings , photography, weaving, to ceramic sculptures. All high quality work.
A table was set up at Johanna’s Restaurant for the work that was done in the Children’s Art Classes at the Lake Chapala Society. Several other artists also had displays in their garden. Unfortunately, I didn’t get good photos because of the bright sunshine. This is a good place to apologize to all the wonderful artists that I didn’t photograph and put into this article. I only have a limited space to work with and there were over seventy artists and twenty locations. I didn’t have time to get to all of them. So, please forgive me if I didn’t get you in this article.
Christmas in Mexico lasts for many days. Las Posadas start on Dec. 16th and end on Dec. 24, Noche Buena. During those nine days, people are setting off cohetes (Fireworks) and church bells ring often. It is very noisy in Mexico during this time of the year. Las Posadas are parades of different groups of people walking down the streets. They are from various neighborhoods or sometimes they are specific kinds of workers, like carpenters or fishermen. People carry candles and statues. The statues may be of Mary, Jesus and/or saints. The people sing Christmas songs and sometimes stop for prayer or religious readings during their walk.
The parade is symbolic of Mary and Joseph looking for a place to spend the night, knocking on doors and being turned away. Finally, the parade ends up at a house where they are welcomed. There is food and drink. The drink is usually a traditional punch of sugar cane, prunes, guava and cinnamon sticks. They are also served little round fruit cakes called Tejocotes.
The annual Thrill the World Zombie Dance took place on Saturday, October 27th, 2012. This is an international event to raise money for charities. It was inspired by Michael Jackson’s Thriller music video. Thrill the World is an allusion to his song title, Heal the World. People from all over the world danced to his Thriller song at the same time.
If you had been at the Ajijic Plaza an hour before the two o’clock scheduled event, you might have run into zombies everywhere. I had a scare when I opened the bathroom door to find myself face-to-face with this zombie. Then she said my name and I realized that I was looking at my dear friend, Carolina. What a surprise for me. I hope her boyfriend didn’t see her in that costume.
The Mexican Independence Day celebrations actually start on the night of Sept. 15th. Every plaza in Mexico has a reading of El Grito de Delores, just before midnight. That is the proclamation that Father Miguel Hidalgo, a Catholic Priest, read in the small town of Dolores in Guanajuto, MX. on Sept. 15th, 1810. This proclamation started the uprising that became a war against Spain. It lasted for eleven years. When the proclamation is read every year in the plazas, the crowds answer by shouting Viva Mexico. Fireworks are shot off and people celebrate their hard won freedom. The war lasted for 11 years. It didn’t end until Sept. 25, 1821. On Sept. 16th, every year, there is a big parade.
This year it was a more somber affair than what I remembered from last year. It was mostly marching school children and horses. It was still exciting for me to witness. I was up and out early, before people started gathering for the parade. I enjoyed the quiet streets at that time of the day. (more…)
Every year there is the Regatta de Globos, hot air balloons. It is held in the main soccer field on Revolution street in Ajijic. It is one of the most popular events of the year in Lake Chapala and is always held on the Saturday before Independence day (Sept. 16.). The Globos are made weeks in advance by various groups of volunteers. Some of them are sponsored by local churches. Some are sponsored by businesses, or clubs. The smaller ones take about four hours to make. The larger ones can take much longer.
Hundreds of these Globos are made for the event. Some burn up before they can even get off the ground. Others will stay in the sky for hours and even float miles away. In past years, a few have come burning down onto farmers’ crops. Then the sponsor of that unlucky Globo has to pay the farmer for his burnt up crop. That doesn’t happen often. (more…)