Monday, April 05, 2010

lilies in el jardin

I should be in

Or, at least, that was my plan six months ago.  I was going to spend my winter on the coast and then head to the mountains in March.

Somewhere along the line, events intervened.  A job offer.  A broken ankle.

Around December, I decided that I would stay in Melaque through April for one reason -- I wanted to see the much-vaunted semana santa: Easter holy week.

If you have been reading the blogs of my colleagues in central Mexico, you know that Mexico has taken a Mediterranean love of Easter as the big holiday of the year -- and pumped it up on steroids.

During my year here, I have learned that the coast denizens celebrate holidays a bit different from their highland cousins.  Christmas.  Day of the Dead.  Independence Day.  In the highlands, Cecil B. DeMille would feel at home.

On the coast, we celebrate lite.  At least, the ceremonies are light.

San Miguel de Allende has religious processionals that could star Liz Taylor on a mobile sphinx.  In Melaque, we have the type of religious processions that look a bit like the neighborhood kids putting on a show in the barn.

Sincere.  But hardly High Religion.

However, re-enactments of Cleopatra were not the reason I stayed for semana santa.  I wanted to see the Calcutta-size teeming masses on our beaches.  Beaches that through most of the year could act as a stunt double for the sands of Gilligan's Island.

So, here I am -- four blocks from the beach.  I can hear all types of activity, but I am stuck indoors waiting for Raymond Burr to bury his murdered wife.

After church today, we had a potluck at a hotel run by one of the congregants.  When I looked up and down the beach, I expected to see packed crowds.  There were more people than usual, but it certainly was not India.  A few yachts.  The Navy patrol boat.  That was about it.

The Easter Bunny.  Santa Claus.  Mass hysteria in town during semana santa.  Just another cultural myth, I think.

But it was a great combination for me.  To celebrate my faith in a non-processional manner -- and see the crowds that make this town a matter of interest at Easter.

Now, I can look forward to celebrating my next semana santa with the highland clans.



Anonymous said...

Is that really a picture of your beach?


Anonymous said...

If that is a picture of your beach, and not Patzcuaro, then it is rather impressive. But I'm guessing the picture is of Patzucaro and you have utterly confused this old brain.

Shame on you! Someone should break your ankle. Oh, right, someone already has.


Steve Cotton said...

Horst and ANM -- The photograph is not Melaque. I think it is a beach in China. But we use it to scare folks off.

Anonymous said...

Good grief, Man! What if I had been writing an essay for my high school English class and had used that picture in my paper? Imagine the 'plaining I would have to do.


Steve Cotton said...

ANM -- Misdirection, sir. The very essence of public policy.

Anonymous said...

I think the massed crowds all bypassed Melaque for Mazatlan. I was there last week for Semana Santa, and as we experienced last year in Puerto Vallarta, the crowds grew thicker as the week wore on.

Be glad you are in a relatively quiet place.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where we are still stunned that we spent Easter outside barbecuing