From now until 24 December the Holy Family’s nine-day journey to Bethlehem in search of shelter will be reenacted with candlelit/sparkler/flashlight processions through the streets of many colonias. Traditionally, a boy and girl dressed as Joseph and Mary would go from street to street knocking on doors, accompanied by townspeople. Often the procession begins at a church. Sometimes the children pull a small cart with statues of Joseph and Mary in it. Or the children carry small statues of an angel, Joseph and Mary, and sometimes Mary rides a burro. Pidiendo Posada (Begging for Shelter), a traditional song, is sung. In many colonias it’s customary for homes to take turns refusing lodging singing “this isn’t an inn” and how do we know “you aren’t a rogue (no sea algún tunante)?”
Finally, one home opens its doors and welcomes the Holy Family, providing food and ponche. Piñatas get broken and candy eaten.
Tejocotes and Ponce Navideño
For many years tejocote (a member of the Hawthorn family abundant in the Mexican highlands and a fruit similar to the crabapple) was prohibited from the U.S.A. because insects dangerous to American agriculture could infest the fruit. During that time, the fruit was smuggled NoB and brought a high price (up to $10 USD per pound). Today it is still expensive, but there are now growers NoB.
A recipe for Ponche Navideño (makes nearly one gallon):
- 10 quarts water
- 2 quarts hot water
- Fresh Fruit
- 1 cup green apples, peeled and chopped coarsely
- 2 pears, peeled and chopped coarsely
- 1 cup freshly squeezed orange juice
- 8-10 tejocotes
- 6 guavas, cut in quarters
- 2 tamarind pods
- 1 tsp ground cloves
- 2 cinnamon sticks
- 2 lbs piloncillo
- 3 lbs sugar cane, chopped or sliced (remove the outer skin)
- Other ingredients
- 1/2 lb prunes
- 1/2 lb chopped walnuts
- 1 pint of brandy or rum (optional)
- Tamarinds and tejocotes
- Soak the tamarinds and the tejocotes in the hot water for an hour.
- Remove the tamarind and the tejocotes from the water.
- Discard the water.
- Remove the tamarinds’ shells.
- Squeeze the tamarind seeds from the pulp.
- Remove the skin from the tejocotes.
- Cut the tejocotes into quarters.
- Bring the 10 quarts of water to a boil in a very large pot, then reduce to a slow simmer.
- Add the tamarind pulp, the tejocotes, and the remaining ingredients to the simmering water and simmer for an hour.
- Remove the cinnamon sticks before serving.
- Ladle into cups with chunks of fruit and the nuts.
Metales M5 Mexican Brass
The group performed a concert of Christmas music at the Teatro Angela Peralta. They were joined by soprano Alejandra Garcia Sandoval, The Wizard, and Two Elves (who doubled as acrobats and magicians). The show was entertaining, humorous, and full of good music. Ms. Garcia performed Gounod’s Ave Maria, Handel’s Ode for the Birthday of Queen Anne, Eternal Source of Light Divine and the aria Lascia ch’io pianga from the opera Rinaldo. The M5 played Handel’s Hallelujah from The Messiah, Adeste Fideles, Villancicos (carols from England and France), God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, Gloria in Excelsis Deo, as well as pieces from Corelli and Vivaldi. Ms. Garcia led the company in the singing of Silent Night to close the show.