One particular humble procession filled me with awe. It featured three young girls (around 12 years old) all in white who are hoisted about 15 feet off the ground. Their wings are unique, for they resemble fairy wings, considerably longer and transparent than typical ones.
San Miguel de Allende is known for its fireworks year-round. When I first got here, I thought they were gunshots. Shows where I come from. But, on the virgin's feast, they outdo themselves. And I have a perfect view from my windows of the fantastic pyrotechnics. And that's just the first day of revelry.
The rest of the season is known as Dia de Reyes marathon (Three Kings marathon) since there is much celebration leading up to feast day. Posadas are central to the observance. Unlike regular carolers, the precessions from home to home are an enactment of Mary and Joseph's search for lodging, which Mary and Joseph endured. The participants are divided into two groups--outside and inside. Outsiders sing the pleadings of the young couple. Insiders, sing the innkeepers replies. The chorus ends with both groups caroling together: Enter, holy pilgrims, receive this corner, for though this dwelling is poor, I offer it with all my heart.
Other components of the revelry include piñatas, tamales, poncha navideño (Mexican Christmas Fruit Punch). This hot, flavorable drink is synonymous with the season. Typically, it is made up of tejocote (hawthorn), sugar cane, tamarind, apple, pear, guava, and cinnamon sticks. Adults may add tequila or rum in which case the concoction is named ponche con piquete, punch with a punch. Mexico is a colorful country, and Christmas embodies the humility, faith and joy of its people.