Monday, December 22, 2008

Santa or The Three Wise Men

While we were in Merida, every plaza was decorated with Christmas lights. They were Santas and sleighs and reindeers and snowmen and Christmas trees......and somewhere on the plaza there would be a manger scene but not the elaborate manger scenes we use to see. Mostly just a simple Mary, Joseph, Baby Jesus, a Sheperd or two and maybe a few lambs. I don't remember seeing even one with the Three Wise Men in it. It could have been the USA.

The traditional way in Mexico is for children to get a gift on January 6 and that gift is left by the three wise men NOT Santa. I don't know how much longer that tradition can hold on.

Just a week or so ago we were talking with a Mexican man who told us that his little girl was asking if Santa was going to bring her presents. He told her as he has told her before that Santa is for the gringos and the three wise men bring presents to children in Mexico. But he doesn't think that is going to work this year. He has two brothers who live in Texas and they are coming to San Miguel de Allende for a Christmas visit this year with their families. His brothers children will get presents from Santa on Christmas Day so now he has a problem. He wants to hold on to his Mexican traditions but he wants a happy daughter.

Sometimes we think that it is THE USA pushing their way of doing things into every corner of the globe but sometimes it happens in much more subtle ways that are even harder to avoid.

This picture was made in a front courtyard in Merida. I think the owner of the house had just finished putting it together when we passed by. She was standing by the gate looking it over and when I caught a glimpse of it through the gate I peeked in. "Oh, muy bonita." A few more oohs and ahhs and I asked to photograph it. What could she say but yes!


1st Mate said...

The Santa thing is definitely pushed by the US, but also Mexican businesses see it as a way of increasing sales: it's not just for the kids anymore. You have to buy something for your esposa, hermanos, madre, etc etc. Anything US business does in marketing is going to be copied in Mexico eventually. It's too bad we can unmask Santa and show him for the corporate consumerist myth he is.

Islagringo said...

It looks even better in the picture than it did in real life!