January 11, 2011
Christmas (Navidad) is a special time in Mexico, and my family and I recently celebrated the holiday in Mexico.
I formerly resided in Mexico, for a decade and a half. It’s where I met and married my wife, and where our children were born.
When we lived in Mexico, we would come to the U.S. for Christmastime. But since we moved to the U.S. in 2008, it’s been only natural for us to go back to Mexico for Christmas.
There’s been a lot of highly-publicized violence in Mexico the past few years. It’s nothing to take lightly. Nevertheless, we made our trip to Mexico, celebrated Christmas and returned unscathed.
We do try to be careful. Whereas before we had no qualms about driving at night while traveling in Mexico, this December, we stopped at a hotel. It caused us to take longer to get to our destination, but we figured it was the safe thing to do.
We arrived safely to our former residence and were able to spend time with my wife’s parents and other relatives, see neighbors, and celebrate Navidad in Mexico.
A big news story while we were there was the release of Mexican politician and former presidential contender Diego Fernandez de Cevallos, commonly known as “el Jefe (Boss) Diego”. Diego had been kidnapped and held captive for 6 months and 6 days by a shadowy group but was finally released, apparently after having negotiated his own liberation! Diego was bearded already, but upon release his beard was even bigger, reminding one of Santa Claus or maybe Karl Marx!
The ongoing drug cartel war rages in Mexico and it’s sad to see the violence increase. The official narco war death count for 2010 was 12,456 though another source put it at 15,000 plus. Either way, it’s horrendous.
Nevertheless, there was good news in Mexico on the job creation front. In calendar year 2010 there were 850,000 jobs created in the formal economy. This is significant and hopefully can be sustained. It’s been estimated that about a million Mexicans enter the work force annually. As of 2007, the report was that a third of the new job seekers entered the formal economy, a third entered the informal economy (which isn’t taxed) and a third emigrated.
The 850,000 figure thus goes a long way towards closing up the employment gap in Mexico. That’s good news indeed.
Of course, a lot could happen in the next few years. The growing violence is not a good way to attract tourists and investors to Mexico, to say the least.
While we were in Mexico our family went to a movie theater and watched “The Voyage of the Dawn Treader,” a new movie based on the novel by C.S. Lewis.
The movie was mostly to have been filmed in Rosarito Beach, Mexico, in the special aquatic studio where they filmed “Titanic” and other movies. But the moviemakers were scared away by the violence in Mexico and filmed the movie in Australia instead. That’s the sort of thing that can continue to happen.
My New Year’s hope for Mexico is that the violence would at least begin to subside. We can hope.
In December of 2010, despite the violence, the celebration of Christmas in Mexico was alive and well. My wife’s family always goes to her aunt’s house on Christmas Eve and presents are opened at midnight.
Christmas, the celebration of the incarnation and birth of Christ, is special everywhere it’s celebrated. The essence of the holiday is the same, though you’ll find it expressed differently in various cultures throughout the world.
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In the United States, 95% of the population celebrates Christmas, including 80% of non-Christians. Despite these overwhelming numbers, recent years have seen a War against Christmas waged by a liberal elite, to suppress the public acknowledgment of this popular celebration. One such example is the attempt to replace the greeting “Merry Christmas” with “Happy Holidays.”
So far though, I don’t see that sort of thing much in Mexico. There is a sort of Spanish equivalent to “Happy Holidays” – the anemic greeting “Felices Fiestas” but in Mexico the robust “Feliz Navidad” is still much more common and accepted. It’s good to see that the War against Christmas hasn’t made much headway in Mexico.
© 2011 Allan Wall - All Rights Reserved
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Allan Wall recently returned to the U.S. after residing many years in Mexico.