Tag Archives: Feliz Navidad

Christmas Collage: Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca

Martha, Marianne, and Judy arrive from the city for dinner on December 23 and then we gather at the house of the eighth posada.  Earlier, I go to the local morning market and find a fish vendor from the coast.  We eat organic and fresh talapia, squash, potatoes, carrots, onions seasoned with kumquats, candied ginger, carrots, prunes, dates, and raisins all cooked together in the tagine.  Later, I use the head and bones for stock.

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The posadas continue through December 24, when baby Jesus appears on Christmas Eve at La Ultima Posada, the last posada, which is the grandest and most magnificent of all.

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On the street we meet a young woman and her mother who are originally from Teotitlan del Valle, and now live in Chicago.  She tells us she and her family put their name on the list to host La Ultima Posada ten years ago.  They will welcome baby Jesus in 2014.  The cost to host is about $50,000 USD, which includes a magnificent array of food for three days — enough to serve hundreds, two bands, drinks and refreshments, candles, lanterns, decorations.  She explains to us that it is an honor and a commitment to community and God to be able to do this. They meet with the church committee twice during the year to review details that will ensure a traditional celebration.  Service and community cohesiveness is essential for Zapotec life.  They have lived in this valley for 8,000 years.

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On December 24, I make a last minute run to the village market once more to discover it packed with shoppers and sellers at eight-thirty in the morning.  This is likely the biggest market of the year! Every one presses up to buy fresh moss and flowers from the Sierra Norte to make the creche that will bring baby Jesus to their home, too.

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There is fresh pineapple, bananas, papaya, mandarin oranges, apples, and spiced guayaba (guava). Lilies, roses, and flowering cactus lay on tables ready for plucking. Live chickens and turkeys, feet secure to keep them from flying away, lay subdued, waiting.

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Children hide under their mother’s aprons or eat fresh morning bread or sip a horchata. Who can resist the blue corn tortillas?  Not me.

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Piñatas are an integral part of the baby Jesus birthday celebration.  The market is filled with them on December 24.  Children adore the rain of candy.  Me, I adore the perfectly ripe avocados, organic lettuces and eggs.

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I bump into Janet and Jan, expats from France and Holland who winter here. They eat breakfast at the stand set up in the middle of the market, quesdadillas fresh off the griddle.

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Later, I join my family for the traditional dinner at eight.  Elsa brings homemade bacalhau, there is organic salad, roasted pork leg infused with bacon, garlic and prunes, pinto beans, with plenty of beer, mezcal and wine.  Dessert?  Why tiramisu cake from Quemen bakery, of course!

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Omar entertains Christian.  Lupita entertains Christian.  The children kick the soccer ball and jump on the piles of wool waiting for the loom.  We sip spiced ponche (hot fruit punch) made with guayaba fruit sweetened with sugar cane.  Some will go to the church for midnight mass.  Others will go on to aanother supper at midnight.

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Christmas day presents another dinner feast on Roberta’s terrace, this time a potluck with organic lettuces, Annie’s garden arugula, enchiladas with green salsa, roasted chicken, red wine, fruit salad and Susanna Trilling‘s Mexican Chocolate Bread Pudding that Jan prepares.  The patio is filled with flowering cactus and the sunset can’t be better.

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All is well with our world.  I hope your holiday season is spectacular, too.  Feliz Navidad! Gracias a todos.

XmasCollage-37              Our next photography workshop is this summer 2014 for Dance of the Feather.  Find out more!

 

Feliz Navidad: Christmas in Oaxaca

The winter solstice is upon us and there is a sliver of moon hanging in the sky like an oyster shell, illuminated and alluring. In the southern part of the northern hemisphere Oaxaca is celebrating Christmas with her traditional pomp, ceremony, somber ritual and ubiquitous brass band.  From the city to the villages,  women are preparing tamales with mole, patting the corn tortillas, and simmering the guacalote (indigenous turkey) for the feast day.  The wood fires curl skyward from the comal where the tortillas will cook. Children will run underfoot and bring ingredients or utensils.  Men will sit with a beer or mescal after their work at the loom or wood carving table.  They will all gather at the church for La Ultima Posada (the last procession on Christmas eve) where there will be an all-night celebration after Baby Jesus is rightfully restored to the manger of his birth.

Here are some of my favorite scenes of Christmas in Oaxaca to share with you:  Feliz Navidad — Happiest Holidays.  May all your seasons be filled with peace, joy and love.  -Norma

Christmas In Oaxaca, Mexico: Feliz Navidad

At this moment, it is snowing in Pittsboro, North Carolina, and it is cold outside. Tonight it will be 27 degrees.  Brrrr.

On the other hand, in Oaxaca de Juarez today it will reach a balmy 82 degrees Fahrenheit and drop to 47 degrees Fahrenheit — great sleeping weather.   It should be a beautiful Christmas season — as usual.  A good time to head south.  For those of you who are already there on winter vacation or plan to be there in the next week, here are some recommendations for what to do and see in the city and in the village of Teotitlan del Valle.  Have a festive holiday season! Feliz Navidad.

The article, “Christmas Vacation in Oaxaca, Mexico; Feliz Navidad,” with accompanying photos that I just published for Suite 101 includes tips and descriptions for the following:

December 23:  La Noche de los Rabanos

La Ultima Posada, Teotitlan del Valle

Christmas Eve:  Calendulas, posadas, y misas (processions and masses)

Christmas Day: Blessing of the Buses

New Year’s Eve Festivities in the City

Las Cuevitas in Teotitlan del Valle, January 2, 2011

Christmas Day Fiesta Meal

Fiesta of the Three Kings, January 6