Feliz Navidad

Trip Start Mar 01, 2009
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Mexico  , Oaxaca,
Friday, December 25, 2009

Celebration is a way of life here in Oaxaca.  Since arriving in late October, in time for Day of the Dead, we've witnessed one fiesta after another: Guadelupe Day, Virgin of Solitude, Night of the Radishes, The Posadas, and now, Christmas Eve and Day.  Decked out with vibrant, red poinsettias (native to Mexico) and delicate white lights, strung up through the trees, the zocolo's (main square's) decor foretold of the coming festivities that lead up to Christmas Day.  Parades of children reenacting the nativity scene, giant, whirling papier-mache heads set atop dancers, and women in indigenous dress balancing on their heads the star of Bethlehem made of flowers, were heralded by lively brass bands.  Nightvision Christmas trees formed with strings of lights and glowing stars transformed the city's parks.  Colorful pinatas were hung everywhere, from the entrances to humble, mom & pop businesses to the soaring ceilings of Baroque churches.  By December 25th, I'd even adjusted to the jarring, super loud explosives, which had been rocketing throughout town, and set off at all hours, since December 1st.

A major surge in foreign visitors, still lingering through New Year's Day, transformed the outdoor markets and streets into tightly packed pedestrian parking lots.  Reservations at the best restaurants have become necessary and difficult to come by, too.  Technically, the Christmas season will continue until The Day of Three Kings (January 6), but it's likely the crowds will thin out before then.

A few side notes:
    Favorite new restaurant: La Biznaga (great fish dishes).  A
    Favorite holiday gift: Temazcal (indigenous curative ceremony set in a traditional sweatlodge where fresh bundles of herbs are set upon hot stones to create heat intended to purify the body), followed by traditional message.  (http://www.lasbugambilias.com/temazcal.html)

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