From January 2006 I am spending 9 months working on a voluntary art project for the Artcorps in Guatemala. I am working for Fundación Riecken, an NGO who are constructing libraries in Honduras and Guatemala. I will be artist-in-residence at libraries in Chiché and Zacualpa, in the Quiché region of Guatemala. I also plan to do a little travelling along the way...

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Feliz Navidad

The week before Christmas, Mexican streets are full of market traders selling everything that flashes, glitters and twinkles; decorations galore, including of course all the components for a perfect nativity scene. Crude wooden stables, moss and lichen for cladding, plastic figurines of all the holy personages, shepherds, kings and flocks of animals are all in abundance. Tacky electronic Christmas tunes resound from every shop and Christmas trees and street decorations abound; strings of lights wind around every tree, impressive light displays fill the night at every glance.
Christmas lasts for six weeks in this part of the world. It starts on the 1st of December and continues until the 12th of January with various differing feasts and traditions scattered throughout. In every home a nativity scene takes pride of place, sometimes occupying a whole room, with little figurines lovingly and carefully positioned radiating from the holy epicenter. Nativity scenes have been popping up all over the place over the last two weeks, the manger vacant, awaiting its holy cargo until Christmas Eve.
Posadas are becoming more frequent. This tradition originates in Mexico, and is a delightful one whereby small gatherings form lantern-lit processions, bearing statues of Joseph and Mary, each night seeking out a different house. The tradition centres around a song, an interchange which happens through the closed door of the chosen house. The gathering outside sing, pleading entrance for Joseph and Mary, and the occupants reply until the door is opened and the holy couple are welcomed inside.

Christmas Eve is the main event when the celebrations start at midnight with mass and continue throughout the night. I will be back in Chiche with the families who became so close to my heart throughout my stay there. HAPPY CHRISTMAS ALL! FELIZ NAVIDAD A TODOS! Festive greetings to wherever you are in the world and know that I am thinking of you all and wishing I could share it with you!


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