And The Holidays Continue


I thought with December over, things would get back to normal this week. However, I noticed that Christmas decorations stayed up all over the city and holiday songs continued to be played everywhere we went. I thought maybe the Mexican people just like dragging the holidays out for as long as they can, but then I learned about Día de Los Reyes, Day of the Kings, celebrated on January 6 in honor of the Wisemen’s arrival to see the baby Jesus. So the holiday season actually does extend into January here.

I heard some families save some of their gifts to open on Dia de Los Reyes, and that for some, it’s even bigger than Christmas. We didn’t do that—we didn’t know we were supposed to—but the Hansens invited all the Teca Once missionaries over to share another Dia de Los Reyes tradition, eating Rosca de Reyes (King’s cake.) Ron and I went to Costco the day before, and people were pouring out carrying boxes of Rosca de Reyes, often two or three. We saw a stack of them in the store that was as tall as a person and as long as a semi-trailer. Here’s the deal with Rosca de Reyes, it’s not just about eating cake. Inside of the cake is hidden a little plastic baby Jesus. Whoever gets the baby has to make tamales for everyone on February 2. There is a lot of symbolism in this tradition. The cake is shaped like a king’s crown, the candied fruit on it represents jewels in the crown, and the hidden baby represents the need for the baby Jesus to be hidden to escape Hero’s decree. As for the person finding the baby having to provide tamales, we had a person who is Mexican tell us that’s just because Mexicans are always looking for an excuse to have another party.

The piles of Rosca de Reyes in Costco

Hermano Hansen said we could each either cut our own piece of cake or have him cut one for us. He told me to go first, so I cut my piece--the very first slice cut out of the cake--and out fell the baby! We weren’t sure if the cake had more than one baby in it, because some do, but I was the only one who got one—until later. We had two cakes, and the Cluffs took home a piece of the other one. The next day Cheryl confessed that they’d found a baby too. So the Cluffs and I will be hosting the party on February 2, but we’re going to have pizza instead of tamales.

Earlier in the week we went with the Wrights and Davises out to dinner and then to the Ballet Folklorico’s Christmas show at the Chapultapec Castle. The castle sits up on a hill in Chapultapec Park. A stage was set up in the courtyard in front of the castle with the audience on three sides. From what I’d heard about the Ballet Folklorico, I knew they did traditional folk dance, so that was what I was expecting. Instead, the show started with a more interpretive style of dance portraying the Christmas story. The program also included singing. The dancers were all wearing masks and the singing was so strong that we assumed it was recorded. Then we noticed microphones on some of the performers and realized they were actually singing. Towards the end of the portrayal of the Christmas story, the program featured several of the traditional Mexican dances, showing the joy and celebration of the season. It was a fun, lovely program, and we enjoyed the evening with our friends. Though David Davis said if he went to very many more things like that, he’d up being TOO cultured.

Mary and Joseph 
Angels rejoicing

The arrival of the Wisemen

Speaking of the Ballet Folklorico, our travels this week took us to Palacio de Bellas Artes, which is the home of the Ballet Folklorico as well as the national symphony and national opera. It is a magnificent building. Unfortunately, our business did not take us inside, but we hope someday we will get to see the inside. We did take a little time to walk through a lovely park next to the Palacio. The park featured several fountains and gardens. Ron bought a drink from a stand, and when we needed to find a place to throw the cup away, we got talking with a woman who was working in the park. She was very friendly, but as we were finishing the conversation, she said we had beautiful eyes, then added, “Be very careful.” We’ve had people compliment our eyes several times before, I think because they’re blue and that’s uncommon here. I believe the lady was telling us that our blue eyes made it obvious that we are not Mexican, and that might make us targets. We saw several of what looked like homeless men in the park, but there were also a lot of families and couples there, so we didn’t feel in any danger. However, it was kind of her to be concerned.

I had a chiropractor appointment on Thursday. Afterwards, Ron and I decided to walk around that neighborhood and see if we could find someplace to eat dinner. We found a cute little seafood restaurant on a corner. We ordered shrimp, which came deveined and cooked, but other than that intact, meaning the head, legs, and shells were still attached. They were delicious, despite being a little freaky looking and a little hard to eat. While we sat there, a thunderstorm rolled in. It was the first real rainstorm we've seen here, and the rain came down in torrents. We've been told it's warm here in the summer, but a rainstorm like that hits every afternoon. 
I loved the tile floor in the restaurant

With the extended holiday season here, things were still not back up to full speed at the office, but we did spend a few hours there each day. About a month ago, we were given the assignment to write two thirty second scripts for videos to encourage the youth to sign up for seminary and to get them interested in studying the Old Testament. The first of the videos was published on the Mexican social media sites this week. I wrote it in English and they translated it to Spanish. You can cut and past the address below into a browser if you want to watch it. (I'm sorry I'm not smart enough to insert a link.) Here is the original script so you'll know what it says:

Noah understood what it was like to be bullied.

Ruth understood what it was like to feel different.

Being persecuted for your beliefs…

…being tempted by immorality…

…facing widespread sickness…

…choosing kindness instead of contention…

…the book may be old, but the challenges are still the same.

Learning how they faced their challenges might help you face yours.

Sign up for seminary, and let’s learn together.

I’ll end this week by telling you about something I get a kick out of here—the pedestrian crosswalk lights. After being here, the crosswalk lights back in the United States that just say “Walk” or “Don’t Walk” are going to seem very boring. Even the ones with the lighted figure of a person walking won’t cut it. The crosswalk lights here have animated figures that actually walk when it’s okay to cross and stand still when it’s not. As the time counts down, some of the figures start running instead of walking, and there is one style of light where the waiting figure taps his foot impatiently and checks his watch while he stands there. I swear, if the Mexican people can find a way to make something fun, they’ll do it—even if it’s just a crosswalk light! Ya gotta love it!



Popular posts from this blog

Eating Shrimp and Self-Isolating

The MTC--Amazing Place, Amazing People

Because of My Children