Last updateFri, 27 Dec 2013 11am

Back You are here: Home Columns Columns Allyn Hunt Mexico’s long-haul ‘Las Dicembrinas,’ and the opportunity to still fit in gifts of Mexican-flavored books

Mexico’s long-haul ‘Las Dicembrinas,’ and the opportunity to still fit in gifts of Mexican-flavored books

Late ordering books for friends, relatives living in Mexico?  Relax.  Christmas in Mexico is a long-haul celebration – as all celebrations should be, despite those guests to the Estados Unidos Mexicanos who complain of “all those damned fireworks” – by which they usually mean cohetes, skyrockets.

And what is explosively being celebrated this way is Pascua de Navidad.  Thus, rein in misunderstanding; also the impulse to greet Mexican friends with “Merry Christmas.”  Try out “Felices Pascuas” or “Feliz Navidad.”  You present yourself as not culturally thread-bare, but possessing an amiably bit of holiday Spanish.

As for the timeliness of presents, Navidad in Mexico, as in many other Catholic-influenced countries, consumes a unique “time-zone” termed Las Decembrinas. It’s traditionally kicked off December 8, and  doesn’t conclude until February 2, with Candlemas.  So you have plenty of time to have the appropriate books sent along.  For instance, the traditional day for giving presents to children once was exclusively El Dia de los Tres Reyes, Three Kings Day, January 6.  For many of us, the last day for giving presents has gradually migrated to that date.

Everyone has favorite novels and non-fiction texts that constitute a sumptuously elevating list of delight.  When compared, there are some overlap between lists of many long-timers.  But there also are some very distinct differences.  Different intellectual and emotional strokes for different folks, even when it comes to literature regarding Mexico. 

But one has to be “delicate” when urging one’s favorites onto others.  We have a tendency to believe that because we don’t merely have favorites, but texts that find us at the right time, enlighten and change us for the rest of our lives.  Thus we assume it can’t help but do the same for others.  Unfortunately: Not true. 

Please login or subscribe to view the complete article.