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March 24, 2013 / la otra Mexicana

Viernes de Dolores 2013


I dressed early in a long huipil embroidered in red – animals and flowers – red shoes and grabbed my red rebozo as I ran out the door, down the cobblestoned streets to meet Betina on our way to the Paseo de las Flores. She wore a simple white dress, blue rebozo and blue heels. Tradition demands that everyone wear ropa tipica, something truly Mexican, but now, it is only ladies of a certain age, like me, who are completely outfitted a la mexicana. When we see each other, we smile. The young women nod to the custom with a pretty shawl. As we approach the jardin we hear the municipal band playing thr 1812 Overture. They have been playing since early morning. Representatives of all the political parties hand out flowers. We are given roses and carnations.
In earlier days, young men would promenade in one direction around the jardin handing out flowers to the young women who promenaded in the other direction. Such artifice is no longer needed to make social contact! I am happy to receive flowers from anyone!
The flower sellers have been at their posts since Thursday afternoon, selling great armloads of white and purple alhelies. Everywhere we see people carrying these flowers home to decorate their altars. The Virgin of Sorrows is someone evryone can relate to.
One the steps of the Teatro Juarez a large altar has been erected to  Our Lady Of Sorrows – Nuestra Senora de Dolores.  Today is the day that is set aside to pay condolences to Our Lady for the death of her son, which is remembered the following Friday. For these important days, time is bent a little. And, this day is only celebrated here in Guanajuato, perhaps another small mining city or two. Our Lady of Sorrows is the patron of miners.
Every store and government building has an Altar. The sorrowful Virgin, surrounded by papel picado – cut paper banners; branches of Alamo – Quivering Aspen; and pots of new wheat. The altars are decorated with bananas and oranges, sometimes large crystal from the mines and pots of copal incense. At every altar, there are vats of agua fresca – fresh fruit ade  –
which represent the tears of the Virgin. It is said that you can knock on any door and ask for Agua fresca and it will be given to you. We drink agua de betabel  – beet ade – delicious and the correct liturgical purple. It is garnished with lettuce and orange slices and chia seeds.  When we visit our friends at our favorite restaurant, Truco 7, they ask  “Agua o cereveza?”   Fruitade or beer? The old customs demanded no alcohol and a lot of church going on this day.  At Truco 7,  there is a lively group of celebrants!


Leave a Comment
  1. Rochelle Cashdan / Mar 25 2013 12:17 am

    And two days later, the altar in the Compañia is adorned in red.

  2. Eustace L Greaves Jr / Mar 25 2013 12:31 am

    Your descriptions are so wonderful I can smell the flowers, and taste the beverages. Too bad we don’t use this as a means of young men and young ladies meeting in these electronic times. And, you look absolutely stunning!

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