Thursday, December 4, 2008

The First Carolers

Today is Tuesday, December 2, 2008. It is 7:30pm. I am sitting at the computer in my office aka opium den and I hear faint sounds of children singing. I slide to the door because I am wearing socks. I have learned to run and slide so as to not run and fall on my ass. These cement tile floors are slippery. I grabbed coins on my way to the gate. This is what I find outside:

The first thing that strikes you is the kid with the crossed eyes, isn’t it? You are thinking, like I did, ah, the kid has a chance to make a face for the camera. Yucatecans generally don’t like to be photographed; you have to ask permission first. You could steal their soul by reproducing their image in that camera. If you look at the second photo, however, you see the child has a real eye problem.
I know they are not singing about Christmas, it is about the Virgin de Guadalupe. She is the patron saint of Mexico. However, I don’t understand the obsession nor the protocol with the Virgin no matter how many questions I ask. Virgin of Guadalupe day is December 12th and celebrated here on the 15th. The patron saint of the church two blocks up the street is also the Virgin. That gives her double importance in this neighborhood.

What I don’t understand is the reasoning behind the songs they sing to me. By the time I get from inside the house, run toward the door, find change, and get to the gate, they are almost finished with the first song. It is always the same. Then I throw the change in their collection box and they sing the second song that blesses the house and everyone in it. I think the first song has to do with the miraculous patron saint the Virgin of Guadalupe. But I am not sure. It is not Jingle Bells, I know that.

So if you don’t give money, do they sing a curse this house song? Yes, they sing something that is akin to the trick in trick or treating. I think they sing “you cheap bastard, we’ll be back to toilet paper your house, and by then all your hair will fall out, etc.”

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