When in Indiana, March 19th is known as Mom's Birthday. Happy Birthday, Mom!
However, living in the San Jose neighborhood of Saltillo, March 19th is San Jose Day. The street closes, food stands and carnival rides take over, matachin drums can be heard all day, as can the bells for masses for nearly every hour in the evening. I love it!
Clara and I headed towards the church for the noon mass, celebrated by Saltillo's bishop emeterius, who posesses a lovely baritone voice. Due to symptoms of being nearly ancient, he spoke so slowly that it was almost difficult to follow him, but he was still beautiful to listen to. Clara was in rare form, as she flirted with everyone around us and kept up a untiring game of "pass the teddy bear" with the lady next to us. Fortunately, lady was a grandmotherly sort and didn't seem to mind.
After Clara's 2+ hour nap (awesome!) we headed back down the street to enjoy tamales. Makeshift restaurants were set up along the street and sidewalks, complete with tables and chairs. I dug into six of the tiniest chicken tamales ever while Clara merely turned up her nose after trying three bites. Her loss.
When Mario got home after work, he was actually willing to walk down the street again with me--shocking as he normally HATES anything that involves loud noises and lots of people. I eyed the bingo tables (3 peso for 6 cards), but shied away from them in the end. Had I more time after Clara went to bed, I may have tried my luck, as I've never played bingo at a fair setting, and no fair is complete without at least one large table of bingo. Plus, I could have won awesome prizes like bleach and dish soap. Maybe next year.
No saint's day in Mexico is complete without fireworks, and my community was no exception. At 11pm, I jogged down the street as soon as I heard the sporatic BOOMs that told me the fireworks were starting. They set off a number of impressive fourth-of-July-style huge fireworks from the patio behind the church. Then for the grand finale, they had attached a tower of fireworks to the bell tower and front of the church. Apparently there's no better way to celebrate a church's 100th anniversary than by doing one's utmost to burn the building down. And it was awe-inspiring.
Part of the beauty of Mexican fireworks is the huge potential for danger. Throughout the show, sparks and firework debris rained down on the crowd in front of the church. None ever came TOO close to me, but I was glad that I wasn't any closer to the front of the church once that tower was lit. And the danger of disaster is very real, as every year in small towns (or not-so-small towns) throughout the country, revelers perish in fiery blazes or get trampled in stampedes from crowds fleeing an out-of-control fireworks display. I kept this in mind while gasping at the sparkling spectacle of light raining from the bell tower.
And I thought to myself, "what a way to go."