Thursday, December 17, 2009


The State Museum hosted a traditional Christmas event last night which included an enormous piñata.  It was filled with tangerines, short lengths of sugar cane, peanuts, and other fruits.  The inside of a pinata is a clay pot, so it really takes a good wack to break it.  To prolong the fun, the piñata can be lifted out of the hitter's reach.  Plus, usually the hitter is blindfolded and spun around a few times.  When the piñata does break, even the adults rush forward to claim some of the contents.

Friday, December 11, 2009

How Sweet It Is

December 12th is the Feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe.  Here in Morelia the celebration centers around one church.  Starting Dec. 1st, many dozens of food vendors and rides are set up to feed and entertain the pilgrims who come from all the villages around Morelia to pay their respects to the Virgin.  One of the main staples of the feast is sugar cane  (caña).    Truckloads of the raw cane arrives and is stripped with machetes, cut into chunks, bagged, and sold.  You can buy a bag of  plain chunks, but most people buy a bag of chunks doctored with orange juice and chili.   You pick out a chunk of cane and chew on it until all the sugar is gone, then you spit the fiber on the ground.  When the cane is gone, you drink the chilied sweet orange juice with a straw.   Each morning sweepers with palm fronds sweep up the dried fiber that covers the ground.  By night the ground will be covered again.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

There may only be one God, but

there are a lot of baby Jesuses for sale at the hardware by Woolworth's.  The clerk there thought it was curious that I wanted to take a photo of the babies, but I take a photo of them every year.  They're just so ADORABLE.  And that's one of the things I find fascinating about the religious celebrations here.  Everything is so literal, so palpable.  For example, on Good Friday, Christs make their ways through the streets bleeding and hauling the cross.   They're SUFFERING it's frightening.

I've gotten in line to kiss the baby Jesus figure after the midnight Christmas Eve mass in the main Cathedral, downtown Morelia.  The life sized baby figure is held by the priest.  Hundreds of people are in line to kiss the statue, just like it was a real baby.   Every once in awhile the priest turns Jesus, so you may get to kiss either his toes or his head.

 I'm not sure what the protocal will be this year because of flu precautions.  If the priest has to wipe the spot with sanitizer after each kiss the line will really take forever.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

International Music Festival

Each November, Morelia hosts an International Music festival which lasts two weeks and this year included 45 concerts held in and around the city.    This year the featured music was from Great Britain.  

During the festival you can buy tickets to see orchestral and chamber music performances, or just go to the free concerts.  The concerts are held in all the major cathedrals, municipal buildings and theatres in the city.

There are also a number of outdoor concerts like the Beatles concert held in the Plaza de San Francisco with a great cover band backed up by a full orchestra from Mexico City.  On either side of the stage were enormous screens showing old Beatle film footage.  The crowd was enormous, full of young people, and there was lots of singing along.  Beatle songs sound great in Mexican accent.

I didn't take any photos at the concerts, but the pictured flower rug is laid out for the first weekend of the festival by the women of the village of Patamban.  I wish I also had photos of the flower arrangements that were set out on the stages.  That's another thing Morelia should be famous for.  We have world-class flower arrangers.