Monday, August 16, 2010

Praise the Lord! The Virgin Mary Hath Finally Ascended!

Yesterday, August 15th, was what I hope to be the final day of The Celebration of the Ascension of the Virgin Mary MADNESS that occurs here every year from mid July until mid August.  San Sebastian church, two blocks west, sets up a fair on their grounds and in the street for a month.  The rides look like they were found at the dump and reassembled...they're for little kids but they're too scary for me!  That's just one of the events though, and the least distracting of them all.

In July the people start attending more Masses, and having private BOMBINGS at their own homes...and the Masses and BOTTLE ROCKET madness increase as we near August 15th.  In July when it starts, it gives me the feeling of living in a war zone.  This year, the first day I heard the fireworks (using the term loosely), I was sitting at the dining room table in the house we were caring for, writing.  All of a sudden it sounded like there was a sniper in the neighborhood. The cats looked at me in wonder. I heard what sounded like gunshots roving around the block.  I figured I was safe in the compound, but it took me a while to figure out that the celebration, city wide, had begun. I was only a few blocks from the main square, and they have REALLY BIG bottle rockets at the main Cathedral!

The Virgin Mary is the patron saint of Mexico.  They embrace her in all of her forms.  Our Lady of Guadalupe is so important, everyone is expected to have at least a small shrine to her outside their homes......I have seen people turn their garages into chapels for her.  This is serious business around here.

The difference is that these people are Mayan before they are Catholic.  They took on the aspects of Catholicism that work for them, like the sinning during the week and confessing it all on Saturday, ready to look good in Church on Sunday!  But they saved the Mayan customs of blowing off fireworks, home made bottle rockets...and it seems this year they discovered cherry bombs........and for four weeks it sounds like we live in an active war zone. Last week, during the big build up to the finale, they started the fireworks at 5am if I am not mistaken, and blew them proudly every hour until midnight. This happened every day through yesterday..with just a few leftovers this morning.  I've been picking up burnt bottle rockets off the ground and the roof, but so far not off the solar panels.  I'm not worried, there is another important day, Guadalupe day I think, in December that causes this entire month long syndrome to occur again. So there's still time to F up my solar panels...after 16 blogs about parades, I am ready to concede...NOT EVERYONE LOVES A PARADE.

On the bright side, these religious bottle rocket bombs are the only such nuisance we have in Mérida.  We are NOT in the middle of a giant narcotraficante drug war and our streets are safe.

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