December in San Cristobal de las Casas

The month of December is my favorite time of year in San Cristobal de las Casas. The weather can be a bit chilly, but we have had a lot of warm sunny days this month which have helped make it extra good.

Folklorico Dancers for the festival of Guadalupe.

For me the very best thing about December is the Festival of Guadalupe that goes from the end of November and culminates on December 12th.  There are almost daily parades of various sizes coming from around town venerating the virgin by passing in front of the Church of Guadalupe.

The start of the fiesta is marked with fireworks in the form of a line of explosives being lain down the street and exploding up to the church of Guadalupe.

Along with parades there are groups of runners that come in to town from all over Chiapas, I’ve seen them from as far away as Oaxaca and Mexico City.

The street below the church of is blocked off for a variety of food stands and rides that really get going on the last week of the fiesta.

The final night of the fiesta, on December 12th, the crowd is packed in so tight it is almost impossible to move.

View from the Church of Guadalupe over San Crsitobal de las Casas on December 12th.

The fiesta attracts people from all over the countryside who can not afford hotels, so on the last few busy nights of the party they camp out on the sidewalks. All of them very polite.

On the last few nights of the festival, people from the countryside camp on the sidewalks near the church. They cause no trouble and clean up when they go, a very nice bunch of people.

The last few nights of the fiesta they shoot off some very professional looking fireworks randomly starting at about 10pm.

Here is a time condensed video of the fireworks…

By the end of the fiesta Christmas almost seems like an afterthought. Another of my favorite things around here in December is the lack of commercialism surrounding Christmas.
Traditionally families gather on Christmas eve for good food and libations while the kids shoot off a variety of firecrackers and bottle rockets. Christmas is pretty much over at midnight on Christmas eve when everyone in the town shoots off all of their best fireworks simultaneously.

So a belated Merry Christmas and an early Happy New years to all of you, I can’t wait to see what 2012 has in store.

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