Some pictures (link to my flickr set) from the procession through Durham's Burch Avenue neighborhood on 12/12, at 12 noon, for la Virgen de Guadalupe. Believe it or not, a rose bush outside the Church was in bloom. These store-bought roses were carried as a dais in the procession, then placed inside the sanctuary:
It was cold (40s), but we were lucky the rain held off until that evening. There was a mass after the procession, with dancing outside before and after. Some very sweet hot chocolate, coffee, a cocoa drink made with corn meal, some VERY DELICIOUS red tamales, and some sweet bread and rolls were served.
As every year, I ran into friends, old and new. I spoke with Irma Aguirre, whose photo in the black tilma with Guadalupe on it I run every year. She's an elder of the church whom I met the very first time I "met" Guadalupe, when I stumbled into a procession one summer to honor the new statue of the Virgin that had just been purchased (2004? 2005?). Curious, and not sure whether I was there to observe or to participate, I went along with Irma when she took me firmly by the arm, as we sang Guadalupan songs from her lyric sheet. She was there Saturday, as always, following the float with a microphone, leading the singing. Irma told me she's a mother of 13, but I suspect she's like a mother to many more than that.
Javier Solis, who runs security at the Guadalupan events every year, was keeping kids under parental supervision at all times, and keeping an eye out for gang members. To my surprise, he said he'd seen a few that day. There was an off-duty officer they'd hired on site. All was calm and bright as far as I could see, so I guess Javier and his crew had things under control. Among the invited demons to watch out for was this guy: I didn't notice it at the time, but he has a Teletubby doll hanging around his neck.
New friends made: Bolivar and Maximino, experts in pre-Hispanic dances from Tolucca, who have a dance group out in Wendell. They said they're going to call me when they perform; hopefully I'll get some video of that eventually. Maximino gave me a live demo of the deer dance, Venado, which whet my appetite to learn more about the different dances. These guys were spending the whole day visiting various churches for Marian devotions; from here, they were on their way to Clayton for a reenactment of the apparition of Guadalupe to Juan Diego, and a mass.
It's a hodgepodge of Guadalupan traditions from all over Mexico that meet on the streets of Durham; N&O reporter John Murawski gleaned this interesting fact for his story from my friend Javier. The Viejitos are from a region of Michoacan; they wear masks that resemble distinctly pink old men with pointed chins and white beards. They wear wooden sandals which act like tap shoes or clogs, and dance hunched over with canes. Also from Michoacan, I think, are the Inditas (a Mexican name for them, called something else here, but I don't remember), ladies with shiny satin aprons, braided hair and shawls.
People came out of their homes to watch the procession, some in wonderment. A woman asked me what this was, and I told her. She had a tear in her eye. Her name was Gwen.
The sun came out briefly as I photographed this mother and her daughter in a matachine costume at the end of the procession. Despite the chill in the air, there was a blessed warmth on the streets of Durham.