I have been away from Art Rat Cafe for awhile, traveling in Mexico and so full of experiencing every moment of heat and sun and the fascination of a different culture that, except for one poem from the coast I have rarely thought about blogging. However, I am settled into San Miguel for awhile and able to begin to sift through the daily and amazing sensual input of sounds, smells, colours, textures and sights that I encounter on every street and around every corner. So this is a good time to share again, and the simplest way I can share is through my third eye, my camera. I will begin these postings by publishing one or more images a day, sometimes with words of explanation and sometimes allowing the photos to speak for themselves.
My first post is about one of the most popular celebrations in Catholic countries and cities: the Carnival. This is a tradition that is held every Sunday prior to Ash Wednesday before Lent. In San Miguel in the 1970s the tradition took place on the Jardin, the central plaza of the town and consisted of the women walking in the opposite direction to the men, who used to give them a flower or ask them permission to sprinkle confetti from an empty eggshell on their heads and requested them to be their girlfriend. The girls were always in the company of their mothers and sisters. The photos and description of the modern equivalent to this tradition follow.
This the beginning of spring here and also the start of religious and secular activities leading up to Easter. Today on the Jardin my favorite local ritual took place, definitely derived from pagan origins. Children and teens chased each other with bags full of painted eggs that were empty of the usual content and filled with confetti (although the young jokers in the crowd filled them with tempera paint powder or flour). Except for the little kids it is a blatant courting and fertility ritual and loosely continues the tradition from the 70s. Boys chased girls and visa versa and smashed the eggs on each other’s heads, covering each other and the entire ground of the Jardin with multi coloured confetti. It was hilarious to watch and actually no one was exempt, I was egged three times and completely covered. I watched the kids running after each other around the outside of the Jardin, screaming and laughing while the adults dance together around the central bandstand to mariachi music under blue skies and hot sun. I know we have much to be thankfull for in the north but I think so often, when I am here, that our northern culture is missing so much, we have so few gathering places like the Jardin to dance, play music and connect with each other, and we have nothing to match this eggstatic ritual of joy in celebrating spring and courtship.