" . . . In every winter of the world, Arizona school children fold and snip paper snowflakes to tape around the blackboard. In October, they cut orange paper leaves, and tulips in spring, just as colonial American and Australian schoolchildren once memorized poems about British skylarks while the blue jays or cockatoos (according to continent) squawked outside, utterly ignored. The dominant culture has a way of becoming more real than the stuff at hand."-Barbara Kingsolver, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle (pg. 296)
Ms. Kingsolver said it better than I did. But my question, given my perspective in Mexico, is how the vision of a snowy Christmas got to be the "dominant culture". There are very few places in this country that experience real snow. So why do we see flocked trees, refrigerated ice skating rinks, and snowmen in every park and plaza? Yes, I agree that the idea of a snowy Christmas is a charming one. But why are we getting bombarded by these images when they have nothing to do with an authentic, Mexican, Christmas experience?
Call me crazy, but I´m willing to bet that the Christmas decorations in this country 100 years ago did not celebrate snow.
I don´t either.
Now, I´m not one of those bah-humbugs who hates the wetness, coldness, and messiness of snow. Au contraire, I love it! When I lived in Indiana in the winter and my coworkers would whine and moan at seeing the snow fall, someone would routinely add, "at least Jill will be happy." And I was.
- Rosemary--earlier in the month, I wanted to make a wreath for the front door. But, as we don´t have many pines here, I wanted it made out of something I could easily get. I have a large rosemary bush in my patio. A traditional, Mexican Christmas dish is romeritos, which is rosemary covered in a mole sauce. Thanks to this, I´ve noticed in the last few years that just smelling rosemary reminds me of Christmas. Furthermore, in a Mexican Christmas carol, Los Peces en el Rio, one of the verses speaks of Mary washing out clothes in a river and hanging them to dry on a rosemary bush. Furthermore, having cut a branch off a few weeks before this contemplation, the cut branch stayed green for a few weeks.
*sigh* Next year, we´ll have a rosemary wreath.