Tag Archives: saints

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
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Stuff Mexicans Like #6: La Fiesta

19 May
There are few activities Mexicans enjoy more than la fiesta. La fiesta incorporates the most important aspects of a Mexicans’s existence: la convivencia; la familia; la amistad; la risa; la comida; la música; el baile; la pasión; los modales; la celebración; la tradición; la fe; el gozo; and la formalidad. (getting together; family; friendship; laughter; food; music; dance; passion; manners; celebration; tradition; faith; joy; and getting dressed up!) A party is all the best things in life wrapped in a brief 6 hour package. Why not celebrate more? 
 
Therapy
On the flip side, la fiesta is also a way of releasing suppressed emotions of la tristeza, la ira, la frustración, la impotencia, and la desesperación. (sadness, rage, frustration, powerlessness, and desperation). These emotions are generated when la corrupción wins in one’s life, when one works hard day in and day out, but still cannot get ahead, and when one is menos preciado in society for his or her lower socio-economic status (under valued). There is an almost drunken mania (and ofen accompanying violence) that occurs in the public during certain Mexican holidays/parades/bull fights that seems to reflect a long overdue release of powerful sentiment and/or resentment for the inability to produce change and/or have power or control over one’s own life circumstances.
 
Financial Effect
Some poor pueblos save all year long for fireworks, cohetes (rockets), street decorations, and food and beverage to accommodate the masses for their colonia’s or city’s Santo. (In my case, San Miguel Arcángel: 29 septiembre.)  But what about the more important needs of the village? you say. Paved streets? Running water? for example. Do not underestimate the power of the therapeutic role of la fiesta to a people who often feel so downtrodden that they wonder how to go on. Just one or two well-done fiestas can produce the morale needed to make it til the next one (or a change of government… or a change of heart… or an end to corruption…or…)
 
It’s a good thing there is never a shortage of reasons to celebrate:
Date English name Spanish name Remarks
January 1 New Year’s Day Año Nuevo First day of the year.
February 5 Constitution Day Día de la Constitución Celebrates the Promulgation of the 1857 and 1917 Constitutions (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
Observance: First Monday of February.
March 21 Benito Juárez‘s birthday Natalicio de Benito Juárez Commemorates President Benito Juárez’s birthday on March 21, 1806 (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
Observance: Third Monday of March
May 1 Labor Day Día del Trabajo Commemorates the Mexican workers’ union movements (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
September 16 Independence Day Día de la Independencia Commemorates the start of the Independence War by Father Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla in 1810 (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
November 20 Revolution Day Día de la Revolución Commemorates the start of the Mexican Revolution by Francisco I. Madero in 1910 (See also Patriotic holidays in Mexico).
Observance: Third Monday of November.
December 1 Change of Federal Government Transmisión del Poder Ejecutivo Federal Every six years, when a new President is sworn in office.
Next observance: December 1, 2012.
December 25 Christmas Navidad Christmas celebration; secular and religious holiday.

In addition to these dates, election days designated by federal and local electoral laws are also statutory holidays.


 This is me at my first Christmas Posada in Queretaro: Posadas are celebrated the ten days, hence ten fiestas, before Christ’s birth, when Jose & Maria looked for lodging, but found none. The pinata originates from posadas, not children’s birthday parties. A true posada pinata is star shaped, made out of clay, and should have 7 points, representing the seven deadly sins.

   January
  • January 1: A�o Nuevo(New Year’s Day), is an official Mexican holiday.
  • January 6: D�a de Los Santos Reyesis the day when Mexicans exchange Christmas presents in accordance with the arrival of the three gift-bearing wisemen to Jesus Christ. This day culminates the Christmastime festivities.
  • January 17: Feast Day of de San Antonio de Abad is a religious holiday during which the Catholic Church allows animals to enter the church for blessing.
    February
  • February 2: D�a de la Candelaria or Candlemas, is a religious holiday that is celebrated with processions, dancing, bullfights in certain cities, and the blessing of the seeds and candles. The festivities are best seen in: San Juan de los Lagos, Jalapa; Talpa de Allende, Jalisco; and Santa Maria del Tuxla, Oaxaca.
  • February 5: D�a de la Constituci�n, an official holiday that commemorates Mexico’s Constitution. Observed Monday, February 7, 2011.
  • February 24: Flag Day, This Mexican national holiday honors the Mexican flag. Observed February 24, 2010.
    March
  • March 3 – March 8 (2011): Carnaval is an official Mexican holiday that kicks off a five-day celebration of the libido before the Catholic lent. Beginning the weekend before Lent, Carnaval is celebrated exhubrantly with parades, floats and dancing in the streets. Port towns such as Ensenada, La Paz, Mazatlán and Veracruz are excellent places to watch Carnaval festivities.
  • March 18: La Expropiaci�n Petrolera, Oil Expropriation of March 18, 1938. Civic holiday.
  • March 19: St. Joseph’s Day, D�a de San Jos�, a religious holiday best seen in Tamulin, San Luis Potosi.
  • March 21: The Birthday of Benito Juárez, a famous Mexican president and national hero, this is an official Mexican holiday. Celebrated Monday, March 21, 2011.
    April
  • Semana Santa: Semana Santa is the holy week that ends the 40-day Lent period. This week includes Good Friday and Easter Sunday. It is Mexican custom to break confetti-filled eggs over the heads of friends and family.
    May
  • May 1: Primero de Mayo is the Mexican national holiday that is equivalent to the U.S. Labor Day.
  • May 3: Holy Cross Day D�a de la Santa Cruz, when construction workers decorate and mount crosses on unfinished buildings, followed by fireworks and picnics at the construction site.
  • May 5: Cinco de Mayo is the Mexican national holiday that honors the Mexican victory over the French army at Puebla de los Angeles in 1862.
  • May 10: Mother’s Day, Due to the importance of the mother in Mexican culture, Mother’s Day is an especially significant holiday.
    June
  • June 1: Navy Day is an official Mexican holiday.
  • June 13: Día de los Locos Día de San Antonio de Padua (the closest Sunday to the date)
  • June 24: Saint John the Baptist Day is celebrated with religious festivities, fairs, and popular jokes connected to getting dunked in water.
  • June 29: Fiesta of Saint Peter and Saint Paul notable celebrations in Mexcaltit�n, Nayarit and Zaachila, Oaxaca.

 

    September
  • September 1: Annual State of the Union, Though this date is an approximation, the President delivers the address in the autumn.
  • September 13: Los Niños Héroes, Heros of the Mexican-American War 1847. The President of Mexico commemorates their sacrifice at a wreath-laying ceremony at the monument to Los Niños Héroes in Chapultepec Park.
  • September 16: Mexican Independence Day celebrates the day that Miguel Hidalgo delivered El Grito de Dolores, and announced the Mexican revolt against Spanish rule.
  • September 29: San Miguel Arcangel Patron Saint of San Miguel de Allende
    October
  • October 12: Día de la Raza, This day celebrates Columbus’ arrival to the Americas, and the historical origins of the Mexican race.
    November
  • November 1&2: D�a de los Muertos is an important Mexican holiday that merges Pre-Columbian beliefs and modern Catholocism. Europe’s All Saints’ Day and the Aztec worship of the dead contribute to these two days that honor Mexico’s dead.
  • November 20: Mexican Revolution Day,This official Mexican holiday commemorates the Mexican Revolution of 1910. Celebrated Monday, November 21, 2011.
    December
  • December 12: D�a de Nuestra Se�ora de Guadalupe, or the day of the Virgin of Guadalupe is celebrated with a feast honoring Mexico’s patron saint.
  • December 16: Las Posadas celebrates Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter in Bethlehem with candlelight processions that end at various nativity scenes. Las Posadas continues through January 6.
  • December 25: Navidad, Mexico celebrates the Christmas holiday.
Date English Name Spanish Name Remarks
January 6 Epiphany Día de los Santos Reyes Celebrates the Biblical New Testament story of the arrival of the three wise men who each brought a gift to the Christ child. Traditionally, children receive toys, and people buy a pastry called rosca de reyes. Anyone who bites into the bread and finds a figurine of the Christ child must host a party for the Day of Candlemas (February 2). It is not a state holiday.
February 14 Valentine’s Day Día de San Valentín Celebrates amorous unions. On this day, traditionally, men give chocolates, flowers, jewelry, dinner and serenade to their special women, as well as to their female friends. It is not a state holiday.
April 30 Children’s Day Día del Niño Honors all the children. It is not a state holiday.
May 10 Mother’s Day Día de las Madres Honors all the mothers throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
May 15 Teacher’s Day Día del Maestro Honors all the teachers throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
May 23 Students’ Day Día del estudiante Honors all the students throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
Third Sunday of June Father’s Day Día del Padre Honors all the fathers throughout the country. It is not a state holiday.
November 1 All Saints’ Day (Day of the Dead) Día de Todos los Santos Honors dead relatives and/or friends (who were less than 18 years of age and unmarried) with candles, food and flower offerings, altars, and pre-Hispanic and Christian rituals. It is not a state holiday.
November 2 All Souls’ Day (Day of the Dead) Día de los Fieles Difuntos Honors dead relatives and/or friends (who were more than 18 years of age or married) with candles, food and flower offerings, altars, and pre-Hispanic and Christian rituals. It is not a state holiday.
December 12 Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe Día de la Virgen de Guadalude Celebrates the day that Our Lady of Guadalupe appeared on Tepeyac hill to the native Juan Diego Cuauhtlatoatzin. It is not a state holiday.
December 16–24 Las Posadas Las Posadas Commemorates the Biblical New Testament story of Joseph and Mary’s search for shelter in Bethlehem. Consists of candlelight processions as well as stops at various nativity scenes.
December 24 Christmas Eve Nochebuena Celebrates the eve of the nativity of Jesus, as both a secular and religious winter holiday. The traditional treats for this holiday are buñuelos, tamales and atole or champurrado. Sometimes they eat gelatina de colores (different flavors of Jell-O and a milk based Jell-O mixed together to make a colorful treat) Las Posadas are celebrated nine days before Nochebuena, usually accompanied by a piñata party for children and dance music for adults.
December 28 Day of the Innocents Dia de los Santos Innocentes On this day, people pull practical jokes on each other. It is equivalent to the U.S. version of April Fools’ Day (April 1). People must not believe anything that other people say nor let them borrow any amount of money. If any person has fallen victim of the joke, the person pulling the joke will say ¡Inocente palomita…!, literally meaning ‘Innocent little dove’ (equivalent to saying April Fools!).
December 31 New Year’s Eve Año Nuevo Vìspera Mexicans celebrate New Year’s Eve or locally known as Año Nuevo, by downing a grape with each of the twelve chimes of the bell during the midnight countdown, while making a wish with each one. Mexican families decorate homes and parties, during New Year’s, with colors such as red, to encourage an overall improvement of lifestyle and love, yellow to encourage blessings of improved employment conditions, green to improve financial circumstances and white to improved health. Mexican sweet bread is baked with a coin or charm hidden in the dough. When the bread is served, the recipient whose slice contains the coin or charm is believed to be blessed with good luck in the new year. Another tradition is making a list of all the bad or unhappy events from the current year; before midnight, this list is thrown into a fire, symbolizing the removal of negative energy from the new year.[1] At the same time, thanks is expressed for all the good things had during the year that is coming to its end so that they will continue to be had in the new year.[2] Mexicans celebrate by having a late-night dinner with their families, the traditional meal being turkey and mole, a tradition which has now spanned worldwide. Those who want to party generally go out afterwards, to local parties or night clubs. If you’re in Mexico, you can still enjoy festivities in the street. In Mexico City there is a huge street festival on New Year’s Eve; celebrations center around the Zocalo, the city’s main square.[3] You can expect a lot of firecrackers, fireworks and sparklers. At midnight there is a lot of noise and everyone shouts: “Feliz año nuevo!” People embrace, make noise, set off firecrackers, and sing Will Take a Cup o’ Kidness Yet Auld Lang Syne.