A Chapala Thanksgiving 2020

I’m often asked whether Mexico celebrates Thanksgiving. Oddly enough, it does, at least in areas with lots of expats and gringos.

Here at lakeside, many restaurants provide the traditional American feast of roast turkey, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green bean casserole, and pumpkin pie.

And retailers indicate that Mexicans also celebrate. I received several emails from a Mexican upscale grocery chain called La Comer, all in Spanish, announcing ingredients and dishes available for El Dia de Accion de Gracias (note that the accents in Spanish are missing here).

Thanksgiving was quiet here. Covid seems to have slowed everything down.

However, some verities are eternal such as the pelicans along the lake in the winter. They are returning!

It’s the little changes that I note on my daily walks on the malecon. Over the last couple of weeks, workers have been making improvements and changes to the skateboard/bike park near fisherman’s pier.

For a while, they literally broke up several of the walls there, by hand.

Then, they filled in the surface with large stones and mortar.

After reinforcing the walls in this manner, they finished the surfaces as if nothing had been done.

Finally, they built stairs in one section of the park. Not sure why and I haven’t seen any of the youngsters playing on them to know what purpose they serve. Maybe just aesthetic.

The city and its citizens seem to take a real pride in the upkeep and presentation of the malecon and its components. It’s a joy to behold!



Day of the Dead in Chapala–Lockdown 2020 Edition

This year Day of the Dead was a subdued celebration. The governor of Jalisco, the state in which Chapala is located, had ordered a limited lockdown once again because of covid. During the week, businesses could be open from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. On weekends, only grocery stores could open with the same limited hours. Restaurants could deliver but accept no dine-in customers. Everyone was (and is) encouraged to stay home.

Lakeside in general has been pretty quiet. Little traffic; little activity. So when Day of the Dead arrived on November 2, a Monday this year, the cemeteries were closed and no public celebrations or memorials were allowed.

Normally, Day of the Dead is a colorful holiday with a somber undertone of remembering those who have passed. Its symbol is Catrina. Developed by a Mexican artist back at the turn of the prior century, Catrina have come to decorate and dominate the holiday. Part of the tradition of laughing in the face of death. A hint of defiance of the inevitable. I’ll live life anyway, I hear her say.

There were Catrinas in el centro.

This was as much of a public celebration as there was. Compare this to past years in my post here.

Even though the altars were not displayed in public in el centro, individuals and households still made their own declaration. Across the street from us, our neighbors honored one of their own.

And just down the street, my barber honored another.

In from of the newly-refurbished mercado in Chapala, the cabana too was decorated for the holiday.

Mexico is keeping calm and moving on. Day of the Dead will be back again next year, hopefully with a very public celebration in the spirit of facing life with equanimity. Here’s to it!