Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Wedding In Tlaquepaque

As with most days in Mexico, there was something to celebrate yesterday Monday Oct. 27th, 2014.  My cousin Julian was getting married in Tlaquepaque, Mexico.  His bride is EreenDy, a delightful young woman.  Both are from Tlaquepaque.

And to take part in the civil ceremony my mother, Rebeca, came to town...all the way from Los Angeles, CA.  Accompanying her were her 2 sisters, Teresa and Ema....who were all gathering at the wedding ceremony to see their 4th sister, my Tia Ninfa....a reunion to celebrate.

Tia Teresa and my Mom, Rebeca in front of the Teatro Degollado.
The fountain in front of the Teatro was designed and built by my father, Javier.

We started the day with a stroll around the Centro Historico of downtown Guadalajara.  As part of our Fiestas de Octubre, I remembered the Cantera stone carving competition usually held in the plaza.  So we decided to visit and were not dissappointed.

Cantera Cuties

Mom in front of the Church of San Agustin
My father attended university classes next door

Cantera Stone is a uniquely quarried, volcanic rock that is mined exclusively in various regions of Mexico and Central America. Its name derives from the Spanish word for quarry.

Fco. y Rebeca Framed by Cantera

My mother and her sisters took the "red eye" flight and arrived early at Guadalajara Intl. Airport.  Early or not we were there to greet them with open arms and somewhat sleepy eyes.

Julian Daniel Estrada Hernandez y Erendira (EreenDy) Jazmin Cruz Ibarra

My cousin Julian and his bride EreenDy decided to have a civil ceremony on a Monday, because they met on this particular Monday, several years ago.

We all gathered at the Registro Civil for the ceremony.

EreenDy, Mom and Julian

Wedding Vows

Ninfa, Rebeca and Ema

Well wishes were made and sage advice given

The Judge also had a few words for the newlyweds

A bit of nerves and much joy

What I love about the beauty of Mexico is that it is intrinsic to everyday life.  Here we were in the middle of Tlaquepaque, so why not take advantage of all it had to offer.  After the ceremony we headed to the centro or Parian, to stroll along cobbled stone streets lined with architectural gems and distinctive art.

Calle Indendencia

While strolling to our restaurant for a celebratory dinner, we found the marimba band, Playa Azul.  The musicians serenaded the newleyweds en route....and an impromptu wedding dance was had.

My godson, Jorge
Sergio Bustamante Sculpture Garden

When in Tlaquepaque I always visit the studio/gallery of artist Sergio Bustamante.  Not only is Sergio a native son of Tlaquepaque, his work is known and collected world-wide.  He is a personal favorite and one artist who's work should not be missed.

Sergio Bustamante

Casa Luna Restaurant, Tlaquepaque

After a short stroll meandering through artesan shops, garrafa ice cream parlors and sampling local street vendor fair we arrived at our destination...Casa Luna.  Arriving without a reservation, they promptly seated our entire wedding party in the main patio and the feasting began.

Tias and Niece

The Newleyweds

Tias Ema, Ninfa, Rebeca and Teresa Reunited

Julian's older brother Manuel and his beau

The faroles or paper lanters seen throughout Casa Luna were hand-made probably
by my cousin Raul Hernandez in his home/studio in Tlaquepaque

Cousin Hector in a pensive mode

Cousins Marcela and Carlos sharing a moment

Tias Ninfa y Teresa

Wedding Party

Brothers Jorge y Angel

After a wonderful, lazily enjoyed meal we ventured out in the late afternoon into the plaza, filled with people and energy.

The Nava Girls

Not to anyone's surprise we found the Voladores de Panpantla in the plaza, ready to perform.  Magic is part of life here, and we don't take it for granted...mostly we expect it to occur and welcome it into our lives.

Voladores De Papantla
Flyers of Papantla

In Maya mythology the creation of the world is associated with a mythical bird deity (Itzamna) residing at the World Tree (the center of the world). Five "birdmen" at the top of a pole represent bird deities. The main dancer stands in the center and plays a flute, which represents the sound of birds singing. The four other "birdmen" (representing the four directions) spin around the pole to represent the recreation of the world (and the regeneration of life)

In the early form, instead of one five men there are six men dressed as birds with each member climbing on top and performing a dance and at the end tied ropes around their waist and who all jump in unison and descend downwards. Many villages in Mexico banned this version of the practice due to injuries and even death

The four modern day voladores typically circle the pole 13 times each, for a total of 52 circuits, or the number of years in the Aztec "calendar round".

As the Voladores touched down and the sun set I realized we had come full circle...another day done.

I gave thanks for the day, for the gathering of loved ones, for time spent with my mother Rebeca, for the beauty of our lives and the joys these gifts bestow on us.  And I remembered my Tio Daniel, whose patient heart and nurturing gentleness inspire me to this day.  We reminisce and smile with the realization that he still lives in all his family today.

Tio Daniel

Festival Del Tambor

I love our village...especially its plaza...the element that historically has functioned as a container of the collective memory, of social activity, and of local identity.   Community festivals in the plaza involve citizens, create common identity, and affirm social connections.  And so it was this past Saturday as interpreted by the Festival Del Tambor.

We ventured out early to have breakfast down by the lake at the Old Posada and sauntered back via the plaza to see what preparations were taking place for the day long festival.

Not surprisingly, I found my friend Dale Hoyt Palfrey already taking pictures.  Dale works as a reporter for the Guadalajara Reported and is always to be found where events are unfolding.  I asked her how the fotos were progressing and she mentioned that today everyone seemed to be on indigenous Mexican time.   You see, here we have Expat time, Mexican time, Country Mexican time and Indigenous time.  I told Dale that Indigenous time was a mixture of cosmic and Mexican time molded together...and she knowingly agreed.  The events for the day were unfolding in their own time and space.

Brad and I decided to return home, just a few blocks away.  We returned in the early afternoon to find a group of dancers ready to perform for the crowd.  The festival poster listed the group as Danzantes de San Juan, a town up the coast from our village.

The dance troupe consisted of a lead drummer and director, many dancers both young and experienced.

The costumes were stunning...and as I watched them perform I asked myself how similar these costumes must have been to the actual garb used by the first dancing community here in Mexico.

Another surprise for me was the length of the performance.  The dancers needed much strength and stamina to perform these rituals as they were physically taxing.  Their level of concentration was also impressive.

Another thing I love about the people here is that they are hungry to participate in public ritual.  When asked who wanted to dance or take part in the festivities, almost everyone jumped at the opportunity.  We saw this with the drumming and also with the smudging practices taking place.

As with most of our indigenous rituals, copal was freely burned and inhaled.

Our friend Mario included his grand daughter in all of the day's festivities.  Here he is teaching her the significance of the copal and it's use in the smude ceremony.

 Shaman's Tools


Early on I saw 4 shamen performing smudges in the plaza.  Most of the people waiting patiently to be smudged were Mexicans.  Belief in this healing technique ran high.

Shaman Tools

A beautiful part of the day was the community feed.  We were treated to delicious food throughout the day: pozole, tostadas, chia water and mezcal were freely offered and distributed to all who attended.  There was a donation basket that sat quietly awaiting offerings.

This pozole was made with 7 different chiles.

Chapulines, a delicacy of Oaxacan cuisine were also available.

And the drumming continued throughout the day.

At the end of the ceremony, we were surprised to find the opening of the ASA art gallery exhibit also in the plaza so we ventured in to the Casa Cultural to find an appetizer/wine reception in full swing, complete with all our local artists friends.  Afterward Brad went home to tend to his recycled paper products as the clouds were gathering...and sure enough, after a while, Tlaloc and the rain came down to close the festival.  

What a perfect way to end the day.