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…)
The month of September is one of the busiest months of the year here. The Mexican Independence is celebrated for several days, starting on September 15th. There will be a parade in Chapala and one in Ajijic and parties in restaurants and the plazas. There will be the Globos celebration on the eighth of September. That is where they launch huge balloons made out of paper mache. I will cover it next week. The first celebration is the International Mariachi Festival which kicked off in Guadalajara with a parade of the Mariachis from all over the world. During this week they will be playing all over Guadalajara, in restaurants, plazas, theaters, malls, and even in churches. Some of the performances are free. Some of them are expensive. But all of them should be entertaining. This is also the season for the cohetes. Cohetes are the rockets that are shot off at all hours of the day and night, making lots of noise.
On Saturday, September first, there was a performance up here at the Lakeside. It was held at Huerta de Serena Events Salon in West Ajijic. The proceeds went to the Chapala Red Cross. Cost of a ticket was a hundred and fifty pesos. (more…)
This year’s Can Am Celebration was a huge success. It is held every year on the Lake Chapala Society grounds. It is to honor Canada Day and American’s Fourth of July. This year it was on the second of July, which was last Monday, from noon to after four in the afternoon. I was there at the opening of the gate and stayed until the end. There was too much to see and do. I didn’t want to miss anything. I always look forward to this celebration. It is a chance to meet up with friends that I rarely see, eat delicious food, dance, buy books and videos, and many more interesting activities. Space is limited here so I will just highlight some of the booths and activities. I apologize in advance to the people I overlook. There was just too much to do and see and photograph.
It was a sunny afternoon and people were anxious to get into the Lake Chapala grounds. No one was allowed inside without a ticket. You could either buy it in advance or at the gate. (more…)
The Senior Expo was held at the Real de Chapala Hotel on June 8th through June 9th, in Ajijic, Jalisco. It started at nine in the morning and lasted until seven thirty in the evening on both days. There were lectures going on all day in the inside meeting room and at the same time there was entertainment on the outdoor stage. They had many drawings. I saw one man win a five night, six day trip to an all inclusive hotel. Wish I had won that.
There couldn’t have been a more beautiful setting for the expo. The weather was warm, maybe too warm for some people. I can’t think of many other reasons that it wasn’t well attended. I could see that a lot of time, effort and money had been put into making the expo a success. All they needed was more interest. Also, this is the low season. Whatever the reason, I was glad not to have to fight crowds. It was low key and relaxed. I had a better chance at those drawings. I didn’t win anything but I enjoyed both days. When I wasn’t walking around the exhibits, I sat at the hotel pool, wishing I could have taken a dip. They only allow their hotel guests to do that.
I went with my friend Valerie on a boat ride across the lake to San Luis Soyaltan. It was exciting. I love to be out on the water. This boat can be found at the pier in Ajijic. Right now, it only runs on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. It stays in San Luis Soyaltan and is only at the Ajijic dock a little while before they take off again for San Luis Soyaltan. I found out about it through friends at the Lake Chapala Society.
There are no signs up on the pier. They have just been in business a few weeks and most of their advertising is by word of mouth. I have nothing but good things to say about the trip and the people who run it. They were all very friendly and helpful.