¡Feliz Navidad y Año Nuevo! Between classes, celebrating Christmas, taking excursions, and preparing for New Years, the past week has kept me busy. On December 24th, my school and host family celebrated "Las Posadas." Because there is no literal translation, Las Posadas can be generalized as a series of nightly celebrations that begin on December 16th and end on December 24th (Christmas Eve or Noche Buena).
Each evening, a procession of people travels down a street, typically holding statues or candles of Jesus, Mary, Joseph, and many other Saints. As the procession walks along the street, the people sing Christmas songs (Villancicos Navideños), sometimes stopping for a prayer or religious reading. Eventually, the procession arrives at a designated house and a song begins that alternates between those inside and those outside. The song finishes as everyone enters the house. Inside the house will be various cultural foods and a traditional punch consisting of cinnamon sticks, guava, prunes, sugar cane, and a small, circular fruit called "Tejocote."
This past weekend, the group traveled to two different destinations in Morelos: Tepoztlán and Las Estacas (A natural water park). Tepoztlán is certainly one of the stranger, yet more beautiful towns in Mexico. Largely occupied by a lush valley whose walls were formed by curiously shaped mountains, these mountains look like the work of some colossal, abstract expressionist being. The mountains were visible from almost anywhere in town. Even the parking lot provides an extraordinary view.
Tepoztlán is certainly immersed in legend and mystery. This peculiar mountain lies adjacent to the alleged birthplace of Quetzalcóatl (The Aztec Serpent God) and most definitely comes as close as one will get to an untainted, mystical mountain hideaway.
Finally, on Sunday, the group traveled to Las Estacas, a natural water park located roughly 45 minutes south of downtown Cuernavaca. Due to its natural beauty and proximity to Cuernavaca, Las Estacas, in my opinion, was considered one of the more relaxing destinations. Inside this natural water park flows the crystal-clear waters of the Yautepec River.
I hope everyone back home had a warm and loving Christmas holiday. Feliz Año Nuevo, and keep looking back for more updates on the blog in the last two weeks.
Mickey Orange (SVC Class 2016)