|Feliz Navidad from Mexico!|
We pulled anchor from Punta de Mita and motored south 10 miles to La Cruz de Huanacaxtle in Banderas Bay.
We've been told that this little seaside town is the sailors/cruisers mecca, and bit by bit, we're discovering why. There is a lively marina here, but we are quite happy out in the comfortable anchorage with a couple of dozen other sailboats.
It's Christmas Eve, and we're fully immersed in Christmas in Mexico. A group of us went caroling a couple of evenings ago, and evidence of the season is all around us. Chris and I have been playing carols together on the boat.
|A colorful and happily tacky Mexican Christmas display|
Those who complain about the political correctness of the states and the fact that "Happy Holidays" has replaced "Merry Christmas" stateside would be quite happy, I think, experiencing a Mexican Christmas.
|Christmas is everywhere in Mexico|
|Who needs noble firs when we have palms to decorate?|
Mexico is a very Catholic country, and nativity scenes decorate every town square. One interesting thing about nativity scenes in Mexico: if you look for baby Jesus in the display in the days before Christmas, you will find that He is not there. The Mexican tradition is to not place the baby Jesus into the manger until Christmas day.
|Nativity scene in a small La Cruz market, minus the baby Jesus|
We attended a Catholic service in San Blas one Sunday morning, and were surprised to see that 80% of the worshipers in the packed church were children under the age of 12. The other 15% were their mothers, gently shushing the children who wiggled, whispered and giggled in the wooden pews as the priest read the liturgy.
There were only a handful of men, standing in the back of the church.
It appears that women are the driving force of the Catholic church here in Mexico, which helps explain why the Virgin Mary is loved with such devotion here.
|A Mexican home with Christmas decorations surrounding an image of Mary|
The Mexican Christmas tradition is to decorate the home with a tree, lights, manger scene, and most importantly, an image of the Virgin Mary.
|Holiday display with Mother Mary overlooking all|
It appears Mary is even more important than Jesus here in Mexico. Life for Mexican women is not an easy one. With many children and hard work filling each day, I think these women can relate to Mary.
|A home Christmas display with Mary front and center|
As Mexican women see it, I think, Mary fulfilled her difficult mission humbly and without fanfare. She never complained. She simply followed God's direction to her, quietly, with a gentle loving faith that all would be well. In short, I think Mexican women "get" Mary. They relate to her, and they feel that she is in their corner.
|A home Christmas display, with Mary front and center, and Jesus off to the side|
And since women do most of the decorating, Mary, the patron saint of women, gets top billing.
We are planning on going to a Catholic Christmas Eve service tonight. Although it will be in Spanish, I'm sure the emotion and beauty of this night will come through.
|Another charming Mexican home display|
Nationalism doesn't just happen in the U.S. This "Viva Mexico" Christmas banner is the equivalent of a "God Bless America" Christmas display in the U.S.:
|Christmas in nearby Bustiamos|
|The distinctive feel of a Mexican Christmas|
Some sailors have decorated their boats with Christmas cheer.
I'm ashamed to say that Espiritu is not one of them.
|Christmas display aboard Island Bound|
Our excuse for not decorating the boat is we don't have adequate
storage space for decorations. That's our story, and we're sticking to it. ;-P
|Solar powered Christmas lights|
Tomorrow, there is a sailor's gathering at Philos for Christmas Dinner here in La Cruz.
All of our new friends (and temporary family) will be there.
|Humble La Cruz Christmas tree|
We will miss our stateside friends and family in the next 48 hours, but if you think of us, know that we are having an amazing experience here amongst kindred spirits.
So, Feliz Navidad, with love, from Chris and Liz in Mexico.