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December 12th - Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe
Submitted by Pam on Fri, 12/12/2008 - 16:56
In Mexico and Latino communities throughout the United States, the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe is celebrated with processions and special church services. You can find beautiful pictures of Our Lady of Guadalupe here.
Debra-Duran Geiger, a Santa Fe artist, designed and hand-painted this lovely representation of Our Lady on high fired ceramic tile. I am so fortunate to have this piece as I understand the artist is no longer making these tiles.
Another cherished treasure! A small ornament depicting Our Lady of Guadalupe - she is handpainted on a small wood block. I picked up this little piece years ago in a shop in Santa Fe and unfortunately don't know who the artist is.
Mexican culture, art and celebrations have been an influence in my life since I was a small child, and during the winter holidays I always make time around the Feast of Guadalupe to honor Mexican culture. Allow me to share!
Christmas celebrations in Mexico begin with Las Posadas, a symbolic celebration of Mary and Joseph searching for lodging. Las Posadas begins December 16th and ends nine nights later on Noche Buena (Christmas Eve). The evening of Noche Buena is celebrated by feasting on tamales and breaking open a Pinata filled with treats for the children. Martha Stewart offers a great tutorial for making a pinata, and if you want to try your hand at making tamales, you can find recipes here and here.
As for my own celebrations, on December 12th, I put a small pinata on my tree, set up a small Nativity scene (called a Nacimiento), and prepare a special meal of favorite dishes made with roasted green chiles such as Green Chili Stew. I also make New Mexico's very own deep fried "bread pillows" known as Sopapillas. Dessert is always Biscochitos, a tender, flaky anise-flavored cookie (it was voted the New Mexico State Cookie a few years back). I save Tamales for Christmas day. I prepare and freeze them in November so that all I have to do at Christmas is pop them into a steamer!
Of course I always make sure to find a little time for crafts that reflect the beautiful arts and crafts of Mexico. Visit my recent tutorial for making Espejitos (little mirrors). You can find more great crafts inspired by Mexican art here. These crafts are designed for childrn, but even though I am way past being a child and I had lots of fun with them! See lots of beautiful Trees of Life over at Casa Mexicana.
Try making the Tree of Life on a small scale using Sculpey! These sculptures represent the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden, and they often take the form of candleholders.
Latinos are now the largest ethnic culture living in the United States. I have always found the Mexican people to be very kind, generous and loving. I hope you will make a craft or prepare a special meal or simply spend a little time on the internet getting to know more about the gifts the people of Mexico have brought to the world that enrich all of us.