Tag Archives: religion in Mexico

May Holidays in Mexico– Pascua de Pentecostés–Pentecost Sunday

pentecostes-el-greco

A special mass is held on Pascua de Pentecostés (Pentecost Sunday), and the church is decorated in red fifty days after Easter.  The red decor is used primarily as a representation of the tongues of fire that appeared over 120 heads Jesus’ followers on Pentecost as described in the bible in Acts 2:1-31.  The tongues of fire were believed to be manifestations of God’s holy spirit and bestowed the ability to speak in “tongues” (other languages) to those gathered.  Those that had received the holy spirit in this form were charged with spreading the teachings of Christ throughout the world.

It is always observed on a Sunday, so as not to interfere with the work-week. May has a plethora of Mexican holidays already. This year (2015) the mass is Sunday, May 24.

Catholics are supposed to fast the evening before and there is a novena (9-day prayer) beginning El Jueves de la Ascension and ending on Pascua de Pentecostés (See La Novena).

first comunion color

As a high holy day, Pentecost Sunday is the big First Communion and Confirmation day. I suppose the idea is that you will be especially blessed by making your Catholicism known on this day. That little extra blessedness might just make the difference down the line.  Better to safe than sorry right?

May is quite the month here in Mexico. Every time you turn around there is another celebration! For other Mexican May holidays see: El Día de los Trabajadores, Conmemoración del Escuadron de Pelea 201, El Dia de La Santa Cruz y El Dia del Albañil, La Batalla de Puebla, Natalicio de Miguel Hidalgo, El Dia de la Madre, El Jueves de la Ascensión, Pascua de Pentecostés, El Día del Maestro, and El Dia del Estudiante

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Are there religious holidays observed in Mexico that leave you baffled?

cover holidays

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Filed under Mexican Holidays, Religion

Battle of the Brujas

Talismans, candles, curses, prayers, tarot readings and more available here at the Bruja store!

Talismans, candles, curses, prayers, tarot readings and more available here at the Bruja store!

Tortilla sales had dropped off drastically and my sister-in-law was worried.  If she couldn’t make a go at the tortilla business, what other line of work would she get into?  She fretted a few days, hoping it was only a temporary problem.  But then the menudo (tripe soup) didn’t sell on Sunday, which was unheard of.

She trotted off to see Chencha.  Last time she went, Chencha told her that her sister L had thrown something at the local (store) that affected her sales.  (See Failing at your own business—Tortilleria).  This time, Checha said that the low sales were caused by a fat, unkempt woman.  My sister-in-law identified her as the woman who sells tortillas around the corner.  I expect this woman might have bad feelings for T, since my sister-in-law makes an awesome tortilla de prensa (pressed tortilla) and I would imagine this woman’s sales had dropped off, eliciting the envy that caused the black magic use and subsequent panteon (cemetery) dirt throwing.

So Chencha prescribed a candle and some spray and T went back to work.  Sales continued to be slow the following week.  When clearing up one afternoon, she discovered 5 yellow manchas (spots) that certainly hadn’t been there the day before.  She used a fibra (scouring pad) and agua bendita (holy water) and scrubbed until the dots were gone.

Later she was talking to me about these problems.  She couldn’t understand why someone would have so much envdidia (envy) as to do these things.  She certainly didn’t feel threatened by the tortilla place around the corner, or the one down the street.  In her opinion, each did what he or she could to get by and as long as her tortillas sold, she didn’t care who else sold tortillas in the area.

I told her that most people didn’t think like that, especially here.  It seems if someone gets ahead, those around him or her become jealous.  There is even a common saying here.  If someone gets something new, or is doing well in business, those that remark on the new purchase or success expect the person to dar el remojo (cut).  Remojo literally means to soak or wet.  So those asking for the remojo (soaking) are asking to be showered with the same splash of success as the new owner.  Once upon a time, the remojo was literally something given by the new owner to those around him or her as a way prevent envy of those who did not have a new item, child, spouse, etc.  It isn’t a practiced custom anymore, per se,  but the expression and the intent remains.

So apparently, T hadn’t fulfilled the requirements of the remojo and the ensuring envidia (envy) sparked these problems.  She placed a sábila (aloe vera) plant at the entrance of her local to absorb the mal vibra (bad vibrations) and bravely carried on.

Her persistence paid off and sales again were steady.  She has since hired a worker to help her meet the demand!

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Filed under Employment, Mexican Cultural Stories, Religion

Parenting challenges–when someone dies

 

Welcome to the March 2013 Carnival of Natural Parenting: Tough Conversations

This post was written for inclusion in the monthly Carnival of Natural Parenting hosted by Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama. This month our participants have spoken up about how they discuss complex topics with their children. Please read to the end to find a list of links to the other carnival participants.

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cross

The majority of México is Catholic and nearly every house has a cross displayed.

We moved from a predominately Protestant but mostly religiously tolerant country to a nearly universally Catholic country when we moved from the United States to México. So the question became how to raise a religious but open-minded child in such a dogmatic and closed culture?

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying there is anything inherently wrong with Mexican Catholicism. After all, there are millions of devout devotees. But I wasn’t raised as a Mexican Catholic, and I did not wish to limit my son’s religious experience just because it’s the religion of the masses.

Although my husband was raised as a Mexican Catholic, our religious differences were not a point of contention between us, until we arrived in México with our 4-year-old child who had not been baptized as an infant. My mother-in-law started in immediately with how it was necessary for our son to be baptized in order to remove the devil’s horns from his head. (I admit to thinking WHATEVER to that idea.) My husband began to agree and make noises about how we should get him baptized. I told him that if he wanted to get our son baptized, although personally not seeing the necessity of that myself, he could go ahead and make the arrangements himself. As he never went to make the arrangements (being male) and my mother-in-law was unwilling to take on the expense (being cheap) this passed and our son remained unbaptized.

Then came the First Communion debate. Having not baptized our son, I did not see the necessity of having him prepared for his First Communion, but since his cousin, the same age was going through the ritual, it came up again. Again, I told my husband if he wanted to do this, he would need to make the arrangements, and again my mother-in-law was not interested enough in the plight of my son’s soul to make the financial sacrifices involved (clothes and a party mostly). Being a non-Catholic, I was automatically barred from involvement, unless of course I went and became Catholic. I wasn’t interested in doing that.

We attended mass on a few occasions, mostly for the experience of it over the last 6 years, but we never really had to confront the issue until last May when my mother-in-law was involved in an accident. Then, all of a sudden, religion became a big deal in our lives. My mother-in-law’s personal saint was El Niño de Atocha, and the family lit candles to that saint in supplication for her life. The saint was moved from her house to ours since my father-in-law was either in jail or at the hospital and couldn’t be there to keep a candle lit, so it became my responsibility. My father-in-law made a vow to walk descalzo (without shoes) to the Virgin of Guadalupe‘s shrine in Soledad if my mother-in-law recovered. My brother-in-law B became downright hostile towards me, the only non-Catholic in the bunch, although I tried to do what I could to help. When my mother-in-law died, she received the last rights and made her confession as any good Catholic would. My father-in-law asked me, not his religious son B if he needed to complete his pilgrimage since she died. I said no, I didn’t think so.

The altar of El señor de Escapulitas Catholic Church in Moroleón

The altar of El señor de Escapulitas Catholic Church in Moroleón

We had the funeral in the El Señor de Escapulitas with all the pomp and circumstance of a Catholic funeral. Then we began the novena(the 9-day prayer session for the soul of the departed to be released from purgatory). And then my son asked me about death.

So we talked about it, he and I. I asked him what he thought might happen when someone dies. He said he wasn’t sure. Being only 10, his death experiences involved mostly pets and livestock. So I explained that most people in México believed the soul lives on for a time in a place called purgatory, which wasn’t heaven or hell and that there would be rituals that were intended to help his grandmother’s soul move from purgatory towards one or the other. We talked about what heaven might be or what hell might be. Then I presented other ideas to him. I talked about the concept of reincarnation, the belief that the essence of a person is transferred to another living being, human or otherwise, in its quest for nirvana. He found that concept fascinating. I talked about that perhaps nothing at all happens at death, that perhaps we just cease to be and our body returns to the earth as part of a natural cycle of life. He was quiet for awhile after our discussion, thinking over things and finding his own way in the darkness that accompanies death.

That night, my son sat down with us for the first of the 9 prayer sessions of the novena. His cousins, who were baptized and confirmed, played outside as we prayed. He said to me after the prayers, “Mom, I don’t think that abuelita is in purgatory, but I prayed to remember her.” He endured the entire 9 days and subsequent mass, the only one of her many grandchildren who did so.

I’m not sure he’s made up his mind about death yet. I’m not sure I have either. We find comfort for our grief as we can. I’ve shared several of my favorite poems and scriptures about death and life with him. He’s listened and commented and gone on with his young life. I know perhaps it would be easier on him if I had made definite statements about what happens when someone dies instead of letting him grope about for his own answers. But finding your own way is the most precious part of living, and I would not deprive him that, even if he is still too young to understand.

 

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Carnival of Natural Parenting -- Hobo Mama and Code Name: MamaVisit Hobo Mama and Code Name: Mama to find out how you can participate in the next Carnival of Natural Parenting!

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants:

(This list will be updated by afternoon March 12 with all the carnival links.)

  • A Difficult Conversation — Kellie at Our Mindful Life is keeping her mouth shut about a difficult topic.
  • Discussing Sexuality and Objectification With Your Child — At Authentic Parenting, Laura is puzzled at how to discuss sexuality and objectification with her 4-year-old.
  • Tough Conversations — Kadiera at Our Little Acorn knows there are difficult topics to work through with her children in the future, but right now, every conversation is a challenge with a nonverbal child.
  • From blow jobs to boob jobs and lots of sex inbetweenMrs Green talks candidly about boob jobs and blow jobs…
  • When Together Doesn’t Work — Ashley at Domestic Chaos discusses the various conversations her family has had in the early stages of separation.
  • Talking To Children About Death — Luschka at Diary of a First Child is currently dealing with the terminal illness of her mother. In this post she shares how she’s explained it to her toddler, and some of the things she’s learned along the way.
  • Teaching 9-1-1 To Kids — Kerry at City Kids Homeschooling talks about the importance of using practical, age-appropriate emergency scenarios as a springboard for 9-1-1 conversations.
  • Preschool Peer PressureLactating Girl struggles to explain to her preschooler why friends sometimes aren’t so friendly.
  • Frank Talk — Rosemary at Rosmarinus Officinalis unpacks a few conversations about sexuality that she’s had with her 2-year-old daughter, and her motivation for having so many frank discussions.
  • When simple becomes tough — A natural mum manages oppositional defiance in a toddler at Ursula Ciller’s Blog.
  • How Babies are Born: a conversation with my daughter — Justine at The Lone Home Ranger tries to expand her daughter’s horizons while treading lightly through the waters of pre-K social order.
  • Difficult Questions & Lies: 4 Reasons to Tell The Truth — Ariadne of Positive Parenting Connection shares the potential impact that telling lies instead of taking the time to answer difficult questions can have on the parent-child relationship.
  • Parenting Challenges–when someone dies — Survivor at Surviving Mexico writes about talking to her child about death and the cultural challenges involved in living in a predominantly Catholic nation.
  • Daddy Died — Breaking the news to your children that their father passed away is tough. Erica at ChildOrganics shares her story.
  • Opennesssustainablemum prepares herself for the day when she has to tell her children that a close relative has died.
  • Embracing Individuality — At Living Peacefully with Children, Mandy addressed a difficult question in public with directness and honesty.
  • Making the scary or different okay — Although she tries to listen more than she talks about tough topics, Jessica Claire of Crunchy-Chewy Mama also values discussing them with her children to soften the blow they might cause when they hit closer to home.
  • Talking to My Child About Going Gluten Free — When Dionna at Code Name: Mama concluded that her family would benefit from eliminating gluten from their diet, she came up with a plan to persuade her gluten-loving son to find peace with the change. This is how they turned the transition to a gluten-free lifestyle into an adventure rather than a hardship.
  • Discussing Difficult Topics with Kids: What’s Worked for Me — Deb Chitwood at Living Montessori Now shares parenting practices that enabled discussions of difficult topics with her (now-adult) children to be positive experiences.
  • Tough Conversations — Get some pointers from Jorje of Momma Jorje on important factors to keep in mind when broaching tough topics with kids.
  • Protect your kids from sneaky people — Lauren at Hobo Mama has cautioned her son against trusting people who’d want to hurt him — and hopes the lessons have sunk in.
  • Mommy, What Does the Bible Say? — Amy at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work works through how to answer a question from her 4-year-old that doesn’t have a simple answer.
  • When All You Want for Them is Love: Adoption, Abandonment, and Honoring the Truth — Melissa at White Noise talks about balancing truth and love when telling her son his adoption story.

 

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Filed under Carnival posts, Death and all its trappings, Parenting Challenges and Cultural Norms