Cowboys, bull fights, church services, baptisms, feasting and parades starting November 29th and lasting into the first week of December; this year we finally have an inkling of what it all means. It’s the Feast of the Virgin of Immaculate Conception.
This is an important celebration throughout Latin America, but doubly important to Isleños as she is also the patron saint of the island.
Recently we were chatting with an island acquaintance, Jorge, and he tried to give us a sense of what this event means to local people.
|Beautiful horses and thirsty cowboys|
Every village, city, town has its own patron saint who people hope will watch over them and their families throughout the year, bringing good health and prosperity to everyone. Local people offer prayers, food or gifts to the patron saint hoping to attract her good-will. This is also the time of year when many children are baptized, or confirmed into the Catholic Church. It is also the start of a six-week-long celebration that includes The Feast of our Lady Guadalupe on December 12th, Posadas Navideñas December 16th to 29th, Noche Buena December 24th, Christmas December 25th, and ending in January with the Night of the Kings on January 6th.
And in the northwestern parts of Mexico where the drug cartels are very powerful they have their own patron saint of thieves and drug dealers – San Malverde. Sporting a thick black moustache, neckerchief and pistol belt, San Malverde does not look like a typical saint. (I think his name translates to Bad-Green, perhaps a reference to money?) Although he is not recognized by the Catholic Church his festival is celebrated with great enthusiasm on May 3rdin Sinaloa. His popularity among drug lords is so widespread his followers have built chapels and shrines in his honor near the Mexico/US border.
|Presidente Hugo Sanchez – in front of 2011 parade|
Personally, we enjoy the pageantry of our local saint with many island neighbours participating in the event. I am always amazed how quickly the year rolls past us. It just seems like last week I was snapping photos of the 2011 Feast of the Virgin of Immaculate Conception parade complete with island Presidente Hugo Sanchez riding with the cowboys. And here we are again in early December and the celebration of the Feast of the Virgin of Immaculate Conception.
I saw Ashley Blogins checking out a particularly beautiful piece made with turquoise stones.