When it’s Christmas in Mexico, every city and town is alive with celebration. And Zihautanejo, Mexico is no exception.
The sidewalks and boulevards are bursting with flaming red poinsettias, miniature cedar trees decorated in the spirit of Christmas, and hundreds of rose bushes. An eclectic mix of colours. A gardener’s heaven.
Several weeks prior to December 25, the local people set up their canvass kiosks on the busy sidewalks and spend their days and nights building colourful, stunning pinatas. Most are traditional five point stars in all sizes and colours, but some are expertly crafted to replicate animated characters from Hollywood movies.
The cute little one-eyed yellow minions from the movie Despicable Me are my favourite. I ask the husband if I could strap one on his back when he departs home for Winnipeg next week, but he crosses his arms and says, “Not gonna happen.”
We walk through this gorgeous maze of colours every night listening to lively Mexican music while young children play with sticks and cardboard boxes. The children rule the sidewalks and make believe empires in their piñata kingdom. It is a cultural delight.
On New Year’s Eve, from the 3rd floor balcony, I watch the fireworks explode ringing in the New Year. Mexican families are all gathered down on the beach releasing multi-coloured, square papered, hot air balloons (illuminators). Oh my! Candles in the sky.
The days following New Year’s, bicycles of all sizes line the boulevards, enticing children to beg their parents for a bike. I want the large baby blue one with the wide seat and white-wall tires but I can’t get it in my backpack.
But the absolute best part of the holiday festivities is Three Kings Day. For Mexican families this completes the 12 day culmination of Christmas.
Traditionally, Mexican children wait until midnight January 6 to open their gifts. The local people do not believe in Santa Claus, but believe in the three kings following the star and bearing gifts to the baby Jesus.
In the morning, local firefighters collect all the donated toys and gifts from around town and distribute them to less fortunate children in the surrounding communities.
I am asked to join them in their deliveries. I have never felt so honoured.
I wish every good wish to you and yours in the New Year 2015.
All photos by Bonny Hill (a proud Manitoban who loves to travel)