My Mexican holiday

WHEN I WED into a mob of Mexicans almost 14 years ago, I initially made an effort to assimilate. In time I discovered that I could not. I am of a different world, a foreign mindset.

New ImageThere are the endless hugs and kisses done to a silly degree that the word overkill doesn’t begin to describe it. I have learned to dodge those as often as possible.

And, of course, the fiestas. My new paisanos party hearty and at every opportunity. One occurs Christmas Eve, and my wife and I go different ways. This year was typical.

I spent Christmas Eve quietly at home with a smile on my face and peace in my heart. After a nice salad before the telly, I was in bed by 11, and I woke up Christmas Day refreshed.

She spent Christmas Eve downtown at her sister’s place — with about 20 relatives and friends from our mountaintop town, the nearby state capital and the city of Querétaro.

They whooped it up, karaoke and all, till 6 a.m. Then a contingent of 11 decamped to our Downtown Casita to conk out. Only a queen bed, a double and a cot are there.

So people slept on carpets, sofas, armchairs, etc. My wife was among them. At 10:30 a.m., she came home in a taxi, showered, napped an hour and headed back downtown.

tequilaThe mob was still there. She finally returned at 7 p.m.  last night. We ate our customary evening salads with Netflix. She lasted about 45 minutes before falling asleep in her chair.

Normally, they repeat the entire process a week later for New Year’s Eve.  All Night Long.  Simply amazing.

16 thoughts on “My Mexican holiday”

  1. I’m in a condo complex and we have the same kind of activity around us, almost every weekend in summer, and every holiday. Luckily our brick buildings insulate us from all but the loudest (i.e. firecracker) noise. Even the more seasoned Mexicans seem to be able to manage all-nighters that would leave us prostrate. They don’t mind sleeping on tile floors, on concrete out by the pool, wherever…

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  2. Señor Felipe. You had me ROTFL with this story. I JUST went through the same type of thing. We went to my wife’s aunt’s house for Christmas Eve, along with about 20 others. As is customary, everyone, including kids & toddlers, stay up late and at midnight open all the presents. I went to bed shortly after 1 a.m. while my señora stayed up telling the same stories I’ve heard hundreds of times until after 3 a.m. Most of these people spent the night sleeping on floors, in sleeping bags, sleeping in till 10 or 11 and killing a perfectly good day in the process. I don’t like this custom as it just kills two days. I prefer getting up early on the 25th with the kids and opening presents and seeing their faces as they open them up happy and wide awake.

    I also asked my wife why the custom of hugging and kissing EVERY single person in a place hello AND goodbye. She, of course, could not tell me but laughed. She thinks it is rude when we just say goodbye to the group (instead of wasting 45 minutes hugging and saying our goodbyes).

    I hope you have a great New Year’s, señor Felipe. I, like you, will be doing the same thing all over again!
    -Mike

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    1. Mike: It is said — and it is true — there are no other abutting nations on Earth that are so different. Of course, much of Mexico has moved into the U.S. now, giving you what you got Christmas Eve. At least I’m doing it here in the Motherland. The first couple of years, I tried my best to play along but, ultimately, I could not. We even had a few of these marathons here at the Hacienda, but I managed to gently put an end to that and deflect the fiestas elsewhere. Now, at least, I have my home in peace when I want it, which is just about all the time.

      And, oh, the kissing. As you know, you kiss on seeing someone and then, no matter that it is literally 30 seconds later, you have to kiss again if one of you is departing.

      I take it that you’ll be doing a party at the same spot on the 31st. Looks like my mob will be doing in the state capital at another relative’s home. I’ll be dropping my wife off in the afternoon and returning the next day to scoop her up. Meanwhile, that night I’ll be sleeping in peace like a baby. Alone.

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      1. I like the kissing and hugging, but as far as partying late, they can keep it.
        Twice over the years, we went to a Christmas Eve supper at friends’ house in Mexico City At 9:00 p.m. I was napping on the couch in the living room. At 10 and 11, most of the guests arrived, and the kissing and hugging began in earnest. Supper was served at midnight.

        The food was more Anglo Saxon than Mexican in style, but good: Turkey, ham, pureed potatoes, with the exception of bacalao a la Vizcaina, it could have been a late hour Thanksgiving dinner.

        It was an interesting, warm, family experience, but now I would regretfully decline an invitation. My normal bedtime is before 8:00 p.m.

        Saludos,
        Don Cuevas

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        1. Don Cuevas: I am sure the appeal of the rampant kissing and hugging depends mostly on one’s personality. I am not kissy and huggy. Except with my wife. That’s pretty much it.

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  3. My story exactly … with minor differences. Went to the in-laws for the fiesta, arrived at 7 p.m. Most didn’t get there until 11 p.m. By the time we ate and exchanged gifts it was almost 3 a.m. I had enough and came home, but they were just getting started on karaoke. My other half arrived home at 7:30 a.m. I may stay home with Netflix next year. It’s just too much. The problem is if I don’t go they will be offended!

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  4. Family Solidarity

    I have a more positive view about Mexican holiday revelry with their families. In Mexico the family is king. It provides an opportunity for several generations to get together and strengthen the ties that bind one to the other. The nearest equivalent to this in the United States is Thanksgiving and attending family funerals.

    When I first meet a Mexican, the first question I am usually asked is, do I have a family here? It seems incongruous to them that I would live in a foreign land without a family member living here.

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    1. Andrés: I’m quite aware of the family togetherness obsession. I attribute it, to a large degree, to the difficult and often bloody history of Mexico. More often than not, one’s only fall-back option was the relatives. The government sure wasn’t going to look after you. The church was a bit better, but not much. Nobody much was interested in your well-being but your relatives.

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      1. The United States also had a bloody history, although I can’t qualify it on a comparative scale with Mexico’s. But we Americans generally don’t have the same family togetherness. I think that the difference comes from one nation originating in chilly England and the other in sunny Spain, intermingled with brown skinned indigenous peoples.

        Saludos,
        Don Cuevas

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        1. Don Cuevas: Clearly, it’s a complex issue. Yes, Spain and England produce(d) very different sorts of people. I still think Mexico’s conflicted and violent past is the primary cause. Also, keep in mind that the Mexican Revolution did not happen all that long ago. There are still people alive today who lived during the Revolution and, from what I have read, many — or most — Mexican men were still carrying pistols on a regular basis down into the 1950s.

          It’s a very different world here.

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  5. Ah yes, the all-night Mexican party. F threw a birthday party for me some years ago, and I managed to hold out until about 2:00AM at which point I threw in the towel. Though I was forgiven, it was regarded as a bit party-pooper-ish. F himself had more than one all-nighter where he’d arrive home at about 8;30 AM on Sunday.

    I personally no longer have the stamina for such entertainments.

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    Vallejo, CA
    Where staying out until 1:00 AM was still more than I should have.

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    1. Kim: This Mexican fixation with staying up all night, as if one is 22 years old perpetually, is a mystery to me. Especially when there are perfectly serviceable hours when the sun is shining and sane people are going about their lives.

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  6. Alcoholism is the biggest problem in Mexico. Booze is incredibly cheap and available everywhere. Even teetotalers will get drunk on Christmas. With all things considered, it is safer to get drunk at home. The chances of getting shot out in the street are diminished, not to mention the dangers of drunk drivers.

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    1. Andrés: Booze is cheap here? I did not know that. Being a teetotaler, I’ve never paid any attention to booze prices. Maybe I’ll go out and buy a bottle now. I feel a bender coming on. Been a long while.

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