lunes, 1 de noviembre de 2010

Why Are There So Many Churches Here?

Visitor: How many churches there are in Mexico!

Me: All the better to stalk weddings, my dear.

I have a confession. I am a wedding stalker.

When I first moved to Mexico, I was living in Puebla. It's got more than its fair share of churches, and is just a few minutes down the road from Cholula, a town that used to be a huge religious center in pre-hispanic times. And, wherever the Spaniards knocked down a temple, they built a church right over the ruins. Cholula had one pyramid for every day of the year, and they still claim to be a town of 365 churches. (I believe the actual number is closer to 200+ . . . but who's counting?) Puebla, although having a much larger population than Cholula, is right about on par with them for the number of churches.

It makes for a great city to learn how to be a wedding stalker.

Mario and I often spent our Saturday afternoons just wandering the city. We'd poke our heads into the doors of various churches (my favorite being one that was just a block or two south of the zocalo and about a block or two west of Los Sapos). Whenever we saw one boasting an aisle full of fresh flowers and the carpet runner all ready to go, we knew to stake out the benches around 6 or 7pm.

Because then, the parade begins.

Weddings in the US (in my experience) are usually a casual to dressy-casual affair. Khakis and sundresses are prefectly acceptable attire. Not here. Full suits and evening dresses are the standard--at least at the weddings I stalk. And that church by Los Sapos was our favorite, as the bride would usually arrive riding in an antique car of some sort. I'd enjoy the fashion parade, Mario enjoyed the car. It's a great way to enjoy a Saturday.

While I do have a church down the street just blocks from my house, I prefer to do my wedding stalking in Saltillo at the cathedral downtown. Because, just three blocks behind the cathedral, is another church (San Francisco, I believe). Both boast ample sidewalk space and benches to hang around and gawk. This is what is lacking at my church. And, if the wedding at one church turns out to be a simple affair (to be honest, I haven't really come across this yet), I'll just run down the street and stalk the other. Or, if there's a quincenera at one, I have the option of moving on to the wedding at the other. Not that I don't like quinceneras--I just prefer weddings.

The best time of day to be at the cathedral on any given Saturday is right about 7pm. At that time, the 6 o'clock wedding is just getting out, while the 7 o'clock wedding is still waiting to be seated, meandering around the courtyard, and in general, just showing off their beautiful dresses.

And I do enjoy it! And thanks to all of you whose weddings I've stalked. I wish you all the best in your married life. I truly appreciate you sharing your day with me.

Si te reconoces en estas fotos y prefieres que las quito, mandame un comentario y los quitare enseguida. Mil disculpas y felicidades!

2 comentarios :

Amanda dijo...

This is to funny, Im all timid when it comes to the churches here. As soon as I see all the statues of the saints staring at me I want to run out. But wedding stalking sounds like fun. :)

Jill dijo...

Amanda--just think of all those statues of saints as photos of beloved family members that you keep around your house--because that's all they really are (or, according to Catholic doctrine, all they SHOULD be).

Jesus is still front and center and the only one we get on our knees for!