And here we are at Candelaria 2014. Today was the big day. When I went to the market at noon, I saw the sign saying that there would be a Mass at 1:30 and for everyone to bring their Niño Dioses. I didn't do that, but I did return with my camera.
Actually, I had my camera with me at noon, too, so was able to see some of the setting up and the early bird baby Jesuses ::
So here we are back again & Mass has begun. There are still people arriving. I took this picture around the corner of the entrance, then went back outside and made a circuit behind the crowd, which explains the different angles (also zoomed). You'll see it got quite crowded. farm4.staticflickr.com/3690/12279798356_6309c6563e_c.jpg
Thanks for giving us another view of the annual celebration Bixa! I have never ever heard of this practice anywhere else. Do you know if they do the same thing in other devout Roman Catholic countries....thinking Italy, Spain, and other South American countries?.. Besides the pretty baby figurines in their outfits, my eyes were wandering over the vegetables on display. I desperately need those courgette flowers for an Italian recipe!!!
I guess France is not a "devout" Roman Catholic country any more, but as far as I know, the only thing done on La Chandeleur is eating crêpes. Weeks before supermarkets have special displays of flour, and flat frying pans.
I absolutely saw no trace of it in Paris this year except at the nursing home yesterday when the orderlies asked if I could take my mother to the toilet about 15 minutes earlier because they were having a crêpe party among the staff. The fact that the majority of the employees are Muslim does not prevent them from enjoying crêpes, it appears.
Is there some irony in the little Jesus dolls being presented in a market? Wasn't there something about Jesus preaching against merchants in a temple?
*Snork!* I guess the irony was lost on everyone there, including me until I read your post. I believe the story is of Jesus driving the money-changers out of the temple. The merchants in my market only change money into lettuce, chicken, beans, etc.
Thank you, Tod! I really don't know if Candlemas/Candelaria/Presentation is celebrated this way anywhere else. Candlemas commemorates when Jesus was presented in the temple at Jerusalem according to Mosaic law, which makes sense of the custom of bringing the little images to church on this day.
When you come here, you can have fresh courgette flowers every single day if you wish!
I think there is some kind of pancake observance on Shrove Tuesday/Mardi Gras in some parts of the world. It's probably something severe & Protestant, rather the more fun custom in Catholic areas of having a big blow-out right before the forty days of Lent. ;-)
Cool facts there about the symbolism of crepes & pancakes, Bjd.
I think the Muslim employees enjoyment of crepes without worrying about any religious symbolism speaks volumes of how traditions enter and remain in countries and cultures.
Bixa - you hit the nail on the head and Kerouac too, when you both stated that the enjoyment of a special food without religious symbolism speaks volumes. Here in South Africa the non-Muslim community that are employers are spoilt to death with gift at Ramadam. We are presented with cakes and biscuits, chocolates and other sweet treats without fail. They have no idea whether we eat the stuff or give it away.....we eat it!!
What a great thread Bixa. I love how traditions run deep there and hold on. So many people!!! My goodness!
Tod, Shrove Tuesday is indeed the same as Mardi Gras, (marked on a Tuesday, and often referred to as "Fat Tuesday" by some.) It's a moveable feast, much like Eater, and they are connected in that regard, Easter being 40 days after Ash Wednesday which marks the first day of Lent. This year Mardi Gras is March 4th. Unusually late.
Oh, I love how the old herb lady's looking at the ... so hard not to call them dollies. Her face in repose, when she's thinking perfectly peaceful thoughts, probably looks grouchy because of gravity and a lifetime of changing money for greenery.
Casimira, thank you. And thanks for that heads-up on Mardi Gras. No carnival in this town, although there might be some in the state. There are some traditional Lenten observances -- savory meatless empanadas on Fridays and the aguas of the 4th Friday. (#429).
Thanks so much, Lola. That herb lady sold me a worthless sleep aid. Humph. You are kind, though, Lola. She doesn't look as though she's had an easy, happy life.
Kerouac, those are the Christmas piñatas. Now that Christmas, Three Kings, & Candelaria are over, maybe they'll be taken down. There was a discussion somewhere on anyport once about the meaning of the pointy piñatas for Christmas, but I can't find it because Proboards search doesn't recognize ñ. Good old Wikipedia has this, though: The vessel represents Satan who has all the goods of the world, decorated to attract people. There are most traditionally seven points to represent the seven cardinal sins. The stick represents the Christian faith to defeat evil and release the treasure for all. I'll bet that's as well known & important to little Mexican kids as the symbolism of the Christmas tree is to American & European kids.
Alas Casi, Since we have had a "new" government in place we no longer celebrate any traditional 'Ye Olde English' religious traditions. Many years ago we used to have a pancake race near the city hall on Shrove Tuesday. That's gone. If anyone wants to experience the old traditions of Christianity you must go to England as Africa has no such things. Now, having said that and being of no faith whatsoever, it may seem strange in every respect that such a person as I, is concerned over long ago traditions of Christianity? Well, I love all traditions and celebrations of any religion - to me it's just another party!
Our textile industry is dead as a Dodo, but China is growing like a giant on giant steroids. It just blows my mind when a see the amount of fabric belching out of huge containers here at warehouses.....
It was a huge relief that the forum survived the sobs of disappointment and the huge outcry, nay -- near riot -- occasioned by my failure to cover Candelaria this year. To make up for it, I will try to remember to get a photo of the Niño Dios under garments I saw in a display window downtown, really the only thing the least bit new that could be added to this thread.
In a bit of serendipity, I just came across this article online and nodded smugly to myself as I remembered that many of the points had been covered here on anyport first.
Sorry it's taken me so long to reply to your nice comments.
Tod & Lola, I think I could become like a Deadhead, following those light shows around from city to city! That video firmed up my resolve to start exploring the state of Veracruz, too.
Lola, you have a point about articulating the limbs. In New Orleans, it's common to dig up (usually broken) ceramic king cake babies. Even though they were probably dangerous to have in a cake, I bemoan the move to soft safe rubbery babies.
Whatever you all did to those poor little boys, it did not kill them, but made them stronger. ;D
I wonder how a people following the same faith will interpret things differently, cultural influences?. Are the people predominantly catholic in Mexico? and [c] do these traditions vary from region to region there? [d] Do the Mediterranean countries where Catholicism predominates have similar customs?
That's a bunch of good questions, Cheery! To answer in order:
(a) My family is Catholic, but when went to Spain in the mid-1950s, we were amazed, even appalled by the differences in the way the religion as we knew it was practiced and the way it was in Spain then. For one thing, statues of Christ's suffering were so zealously graphic. For another, religion seemed much more pervasive. It was common to see women wearing a purple dress with a yellow sash, or a man in a purple shirt & yellow sash, denoting that they were doing penance for something. It was also very disconcerting for little American children to see neighborhood moms parading barefoot for some relgious observation. Look at Casimira's picture of herself in her First Communion regalia -- #34 in your Beautiful Baby thread. That was the norm I knew in the US. In fact, even though I'm @5 years older than Casimira, we didn't even have little veils, just hats. Not in Spain. The little girls were dressed in elaborate bride-type dresses & the boys in gleaming white admirals' uniforms. Actually, they may still dress that way in Mexico, as I've seen those fancy outfits in store windows. In the mid-60s, the priest in our parish in Oklahoma urged parents not to go all out for 1st Communion clothes, saying regular clothes would be just fine. This was because of his concern for the impoverished migrant workers in the parish. Nevertheless, all of their kids were arrayed like Solomon in all his glory for their 1st Communion day.
(b) I may have talked about this somewhere else, but ....... yes, the majority of Mexicans will identify themselves as Catholic. As someone who was raised Catholic, I often raise my eyebrows at this claim, due to what seems a prevalent lack of knowledge about the very religion they claim to practice. Of course there are people who know and adhere to the real teachings, but my feeling and that of other foreigners who grew up Catholic, is that often it's more of a sentimental attachment rather than any solid belief. There have been big inroads in the last few decades of Evangelical Protestantism and of Mormonism. Mormons are referred to as such, but Evangelicals are called "Christians", which sort of cracks me up.
(c) Apparently so, as Don Cuevas reported from Michoacán that he'd not seen evidence of the Niños Dios there, although it is certainly a big deal in Mexico City, here, & probably other areas. This is a mountainous country with many indigenous groups still maintaining their identities, so there is a great deal of variation in general.
(d) I know (not first-hand) that Italy, Portugal, and Spain still have traditional religious processions and observances -- not sure about southern France. Some of the traditions here very obviously were brought by the Spanish, such as the Procession of Silence on Good Friday, complete with those ominous pointed hooded figures and enactments of the whole sequence leading up to the crucifixion.
Regarding first communion outfits (or is it confirmation?), they are still worn in France, but the number of people actually performing the ritual has become tiny. Only 8% of French Catholics say they go to church at least once a month.
Interesting, Kerouac. I'd be curious to know the proportion of Mexican Catholics who actually go to church every Sunday.
Lola, I continue to womanfully resist the siren call of the Niños and their delightful wardrobes. Niño Doctor -- lord knows! Maybe he's the one for closet Christian Scientists.
In the past four years, since writing the quoted portion above, I have attended some 1st communion and confirmation parties, so yes on the fancy outfits. I know I took pictures of Abril in her confirmation regalia, but can't find them. I do have this one from her 1st communion party, though. Confusingly, now confirmation comes first and 1st communion afterward, plus there is only a year between them, instead of the seven year gap that was the previous norm. Yes, that's a full-length bride-looking gown, as was the one for her confirmation: c2.staticflickr.com/6/5749/23578083685_90fc181796_c.jpg
The only way to maintain beautiful old churches in France would be tax dollars. Other countries, too, or course.
Every church or synagogue (or Protestant 'temple' as they are called) built before 1905 in France is owned by the government or municipality, which has the obligation to maintain the building. The buildings are then placed at the disposal of the various religions as necessary -- or totally taken over, such at the Sainte Chapelle in Paris. It is one of the reasons that you can take photos in just about every church you want in Paris but not at Sacré Coeur -- which was completed after 1905.
Something similar goes on in Mexico, although I don't know the specifics and had no luck finding them online. I do know that there is strict separation of church and state in the Mexican constitution, although all kinds of stuff must go on behind the scenes, judging by the pope's scolding of the Mexican bishops yesterday.
Sometimes you can take pictures in Mexican churches, sometimes not, depending on what the congregational fuddy-duddies allow. When I read your post about the French laws the penny finally dropped regarding the mosques I saw in Turkey. Turkey also has strict separation of church and state & it now occurs to me that perhaps the congregants of the mosques weren't so much being hospitable as they were abiding by the law.
Anyway, while trying to find out more about Mexican laws on this subject, I came across this great wikipedia article on Child Jesus images in Mexico which, believe it or not, is more fun than a barrel of Niños.
Side note about futbol ~ a place I've always wanted to visit is Pachuca, the town through which soccer arrived in the new world (or at least Mexico) via Cornish miners. Their representative food is "pastes", Mexicanized versions of the Cornish pasty.