Wednesday, December 25, 2013

The Fires of Christmas Eve

"Feliz Navidad"
So slowly and silently did it creep into my room that I didn't notice the smoke that was settling around me. Suddenly, the night erupted with hundreds of explosions which shook the building and sent me flying from my bed.

11:59, read the clock.  Christmas Eve.

Quickly tossing on a sweatshirt and flip-flops, I grabbed Arayo's leash, ran across the courtyard, through the long lobby, up a flight of stairs and out into the cool Mexican night.

The scene that met me was surreal.  All up and down the cobblestone street flames danced to the music being pumped out of simple homes.  Children spun round in the middle of the road as they twirled giant sparklers. Parents and grandparents warmed themselves by the fires they had built near their front doors (and their cars) and visited as they roasted huge pink and white marshmallows.

I leaned against a wall and watched the scene playing out around me, then strolled closer to better see what the next family over was doing.

"Feliz Navid", the mothers said when they spotted me watching.

Speaking only a few words of Spanish, I had no way to explain how magical I thought this tradition was.

Occasionally, throughout the night, I awoke to hear more explosions, but when I took Arayo out to potty at 6 am - the fires near me were out.  The families in bed.  Towards town I could hear a Christmas party still in progress.

Perhaps next year I will have the words to better connect and with luck I'll be invited to be part of this Mexican Christmas tradition.  I can still twirl a mean sparkler!

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