Tag Archives: catholocism

Stuff Mexicans Like #16: 20 en la Casa; 10 en el Carro; 5 en la Cama

2 Jun
Headed to Rosa & Fernando’s wedding at the Rancho.
Mexico is a Catholic country. Very Catholic. It is also, like Catholocism, full of contrasts and contradictions. Ie; It is not ok to be gay. It is not ok to have sex outside of marriage. It is not ok to use condoms or other birth control. HOWEVER, if you are gay and do happen to be having sex outside of marriage, you fall into a lucky loophole which says that you, sir, can use condoms! Unfortunately, poor Sra. Fulana, with 8 small mouths to feed and an overworked, under-paid husband, cannot. Go figure. (Did I mention that it is also not ok to refuse conjugal relations with your mate, even if you are already sleeping 7 to the “matrimonial” size bed, with 2 on the sofa?)
Well, this is orthodox Mexican Catholic thinking, anyway.Which brings me to the topic: highly populated casas, coches, & camas. Thanks to extremely strict catholic sex rules and extremely lax Mexican seat belt laws, one can find 16-24 people in any small home or flat-bed pickup truck at any given time. I go to visit some of my Sanmiguelense friends and while they slip off to the bathroom, people- men, women, teens,  small children, and the elderly- begin seeping out of every nook and cranny like kitchen-counter ants.
“Ummm…. Who was that group of people that just came out of door #2?” I ask inquisitively. Seems like a logical question to me. What people, he says. “That family of 6?” I say. “Oh, probably just my brother or my cousin, Juana.” He tells me. “And the three elderly men out on the patio?” I inquire. “Es el primo y los hermanos de mi mama,” I am informed. (It’s the cousin & the brothers of my mother.)
EL COCHE
When it is time to take a trip to el mercado in Celaya, which we all know is the biggest and most ghetto-fabulous of all Guanajuato markets, anyone and everyone interested heads out to the family’s 3 cylander pickup for an adventure. “You sat by the cab window last time,” whines Tia Carla to Abuelita. Eventually, everyone is squeezed in, often with Popis, the family Terrier-Retriever-Poodle-Rot mix, and a handful of livestock. No one usually falls out along the way, due to Mexican Personal Responsability (see Stuff Mexicans Like #8), but if someone does happen to take a spill on the carretera hacia Celaya (the freeway to Celaya) or at the Pipila Glorieta (the roundabout with the Pipila monument), no te preocupes! (Don’t worry!) Everyone works together to pull Great Grandpa Pablo back to the safety of the truck bed and all cross themselves, giving thanks to La Virgencita (see Stuff Mexicans Like #2), for Seguro Popular (Mexican Free Public Health Insurance). (See Stuff Mexicans Like #6: Personal Responsability.)
I digress. Back to this Mexican Population Mentality. When my 15 year-old niece, Amanda, and I flew back to Seattle after her 6 month stay with me in Queretaro, my sister, Melodie, and younger niece picked us up at the airport. Walking to the car, Amanda and I were still in culture shock over the luxury one can encounter in the SeaTac Airport bathrooms. Things like toilet seats, locking stall doors, and soap had somehow eluded us for a great deal of time. “Oh shoot,” said my sister, looking at her four-door sedan with fatality in her eyes. “I didn’t think of all the luggage. How are all four of us going to fit in the car with three suitcases?”
Amanda and I silently turned to look at one another, then burst into laughter. “What?!?” challenged Melodie. “Actually,” ventured Manda, “I’m pretty sure this vehicle could hold at least 12 or maybe even 13 people. With luggage.” Our thinking had changed. When instructed sternly to “Get your seat belts on!”  by my sister, before even inserting the key into the ignition, Amanda and I exchanged yet another glance that said, “Do not let your mother become aware of the fact that you haven’t worn a seatbelt for 6 months.” Ni modo. (See Stuff Mexicans Like #12: Ni Modo.)
LA CASA
Some 6 months after arriving to Mexico, I found myself with two teenagers, a small dog, and no employment. I reluctantly procured a large room for rent at a local frat house from UVM (Valley of Mexico University) for half of what I was paying in our spacious home. My 15 year-old niece; 13 year-old son; Mercy, the yellow Pomeranian; and I hauled our suitcases and mattresses (no bed bases) into the room with the concrete slab floor and thus began our one-room, “Night, John-Boy,” adventure. (I had to explain to the teens where “Night, John-Boy” originated. They just stared blankly.)
It was fun! At night I would turn on my cell phone flashlight and read short stories and poetry to them from my corner of the room. Though no light shone from under our bedroom door, laughter and loud English could be heard throughout the casa every night. We didn’t feel sorry for ourselves or out-of-place because all my kids’ friends in their new public junior high had the same living accommodations or worse! I did makeovers on my girl and homemade haircuts on my boy. We each dressed in the bathroom after showering. The occassional late-night mellow college party was a welcome distraction from our sparse living conditions; we all practiced our Spanish and dance skills. When we needed space, we headed out to the one of the front yard hammocks or up to the roof to bask in the sun. My now young adult babies still laugh, telling people about the time three of us and a small dog lived on floor mattresses in one frat house bedroom in central Mexico.
Whether it’s 20 to a home, 10 to a car, or 5 to a bed, Mexicans love Family and Togetherness (See Stuff Mexicans Like #1: La Familia).  Night, John-Boy!
Exhibit A:
This family is waiting for the rest of the relatives to arrive so they can leave.    
 On the way to La Placita (Tuesday Market).
Exhibit B: 
Siblings of all ages often sleep together in the same bed.
It’s always nice to snuggle & keep warm on cold nights.
       
  Grandparents are no exception!
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Stuff Mexicans Like #13: Los Santos & Angeles

2 Jun

Saints and angels are quite popular these days. Perhaps your colonia (neighborhood) in San Miguel de Allende is named after one: Guadalupe; Santa Julia; San Juan de Di-s; San Rafael; San Antonio, etc. In Mexico, they are more than just key chains, good luck charms, or statues in the church. They are a key component of the Mexican Catholic faith, worthy of worship and regular offerings and petitions.

 PEREGRINACIÓN
In addition to their adoración via offerings in the iglesia and at home, one may also worship, express gratitude, or make a request by completing a peregrinación (pilgrimage). This consists of walking miles, often for days or weeks in a group from your home town to another church or pueblo where you will visit, deliver, or pick up a relic of the saint or angel and leave it in another town’s church. One may also create a home altar for his or her saint or angel.
SANTERÍA
When the respect and adoration for saints and angels becomes worship, it is known as Santería. It is its own religion and is in the same category as la brujería (witchcraft). With origins from Nigerian faith, La Santería mixes Catholicism and Nigerian spirituality to form a union of the two. La Santeria originated in Cuba from slaves recently immigrated, where only Catholocism was permitted. Variations of the original Santeria are used in daily Mexican Catholocism. http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Santeria
SANTOS POPULARES de SAN MIGUEL DE ALLENDE
* Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuestra_Se%C3%B1ora_de_Guadalupe_%28M%C3%A9xico%29
La Virgen de Guadalupe is La Reina de México; Nuestra Señora; La Virgen Morena; La Madre de México. She came for the Indigenous of Mexico to represent the poor, undesireable, and downtrodden. She came to give them comfort and hope. (*Also believed by many to be an incarnation of Tonantzin, Our Revered Mother, Principal goddess of the Aztecs. See Stuff Mexicans Like #2: La Virgen de Guadalupe.)
San Miguel Arcangel is the Patrono de San Miguel de Allende and is a protector who carries a sword. He helps you when you need protection (physical, emotional, or from witchcraft).
La Virgen de los Dolores understands the pain of losing a child. Of watching one’s own child suffer and die.
San Francisco is the saint of animals and had stigmata.
San Benito y San Rafael protect against witchcraft, spells, and evil against you or your household. The ruda plant (rue) is also known to be helpful to keep at the entrance of your home and/or business as it absorbs bad energy and negative spiritual influences, as well as coconuts strategically placed throughout the home.
San Benito
Rafael Arcángel
* San Antonio de Padua: (Santo Patrono de la Colonia aqui en San Miguel): http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/Antonio_de_Padua
San Antonio Abad carries a baby in his arms and helps you find a pareja (partner/boyfriend/girlfriend) for yourself or someone else. You must hang him upside down so he’ll get the job done faster. When he sends you your pareja, you put him right-side-up again. This is the rhyme:
“Tengo a San Antonio
puesto de cabeza,
Si no me da un novio,
Nadie lo endereza.”
“I’ve got San Antonio
Sitting on his head.
If he doesn’t give me a boyfriend,
He’ll be left for dead.”*
*Ok. I took my own liberties with my translation for the sake of rhyming. The Spanish version just says that no one will upright him. Pobrecito de todos modos.
San Antonio Abad is the saint of animals. When your cow or prize-fighting gallo becomes ill, this is your go-to guy. Here in San Miguel, he is the sponsor of the Blessing of the Animals day and Blessing of the horses, too.
* San Judás Tadeo: http://es.wikipedia.org/wiki/San_Judas
San Judas Tadeo, saint of impossible situations, helps you get a job and maintain your finances. He carries a coin. You say the prayer of San Judas and light a green candle for him until you find and retain gainful employment.
San Juan de Di-s helps the sick, mentally ill, addicts, and downtrodden.
La Santa Muerte is a Mexican’s “best friend, his daily companion” according to revolutionary Mexican artist, David Alfaro Siqueiros. This idea is also well expresed in the book and movie, Macario, by Mexi-German, Bruno Traven. While death is regularly mocked in Mexico, it is also highly revered. With roots in Aztec faith, Mictlantecuhtli, the Aztec god of death, now is combined with Mexican Catholic Santeria.The skeleton wearing a cape representing holy death is the saint and protector of criminals, gang members, those who do evil, and narco-traficantes (drug-traffickers).
 File:Muerte-Blanca 6.jpg