Friday, December 23, 2005

Another Posada

Tonight our neighbors, the Cervantes, invited us to a Posada on the street behind us. I think many parts of their family live on San Raphel Norte and when we came to the door of the house they had two chairs sitting in front of the little scene of Mary on a donkey with Joseph and an Angel. They insisted we sit there. The entry to the house was a long hallway with doors to rooms on each side. We think that different parts of the extended family live in those rooms. The hallway was lined with benches and chairs and most of them were filled with women and children. Ned was the only man in the hall.
We met several of Sra. Cervantes sisters, cousins and nieces. Then her Mother came in. She was a frail looking woman, bent over a bit and wearing thick glasses. She started to sit down beside me on a milk crate. I tried to get her to take my chair but she insisted that I sit in the chair. As soon as she was settled, she started the litany. We aren't Catholic and I'm not sure what to call the chant but she would speak, then everyone would join in. At certain points everyone sang something of a Christmas Carol while one of the ladies shook the tambourine. Sra. Cervantes mother may have looked old and frail but she was sharp and kept everyone on track.

We sat there quietly listening to the chant and picking out phrases we understood. For the most part the little girls stayed close to their mothers but the little boys were.....well, little boys. Up and down, in and out the door but nevertheless, they were well behaved.

After the lengthy service, we were all handed candles and sparklers and two of the young boys pushed forward to get the honor of carrying the little scene of Mary and Joseph that was on a pallet with poles attached for carrying it. We went out into the street and candles were lit and we walked about a block up the street and then turned and walked back and into the house. Once again I tried to give the old lady a chair but everyone insisted that we come back and sit in the chairs while the old lady sat on the milk crate. I think the only way she would have sat in that chair was if I picked her up and put her in it.

We were served a wonderful hot cider, then brunelos (I think that is what they are called) which are kind of a thin fried crust with honey and maybe a bit of cinnamon on them, then Atole and tamales. I have no idea how you are suppose to balance two cups and two plates. The Mexicans are much more accomplished at this than Ned and I were.

When we took our leave, thanking everyone in the room, they all seemed pleased that we had come. As we walked home, Ned and I talked about how special it was that we were invited.

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