For most of us in San Miguel the holiday season starts on the Feast of Guadalupe, December 12 th.
Some prefer to think of St. Nicholas’ day, December sixth, as day to get the holiday ball rolling.
For a handful of hardy cowboy pilgrims it is the Sunday after US Thanksgiving. The holidays don’t start with internet shopping or a big game, rather a day long horseback ride to Estancia de Canal, a ranch area just behind La Comer, to honor Christ the King.
This adventure started out as most of mine do, with me being somewhat lost. Finally I stumbled upon a remote house a local priest built to serve as drug rehabilitation center.
Frankly, given the remote location I likely would have found the notion of drugs to pass the time fairly attractive. Following the priest’s death the home now houses a pal that was escorting me to her neighbor’s event.
And what an event it was! Dozens of cowboys and girls of all ages rode into town singing the praises of Christ the King alongside their canine pals. Following some showmanship in the corral area, mass was held as it has been since 1956 in front of a replica of the gigantic Christ the King statue that marks the center of Mexico just outside the city of Guanajuato.
A musical first for me was the mass featured mariachi music.
The celebration included a meal which gave me the opportunity to quiz a local cowboy over the continuing din of mariachi music. Lupe (named for the Virgin of Guadalupe, which is both a male and female name) explained to me how the Christmas season is all about Christ’s birth and Christ being King of all. Consequently, what better way to combat commercialism than starting your holiday celebrations reminding yourself of the whole point to the coming weeks?
I was very touched by his explanation while also being touched by the mole I was eating. It was one of those instances when immediately following was is to be your last bite, you realize you’ve made a big mistake. Knowing my intestines were about to explode I desperately wanted a toilet realizing real men (aka cowboys) go potty outside.
I sought out the lady of the event hoping to cash in on my being the only white foreign man at the event who, playing the stupid gringo card, also wasn’t a cowboy. Plus I gave her a gift bag of my homemade cookies to thank her for including me earlier so I was pretty sure I’d get toilet access.
I did not.
Instead she led me to the corral where the horses were resting. Knowing time was of the essence I didn’t much care and used those precious remaining seconds to move the horses aside to give me wide berth. Suffice to say it wasn’t one of my more sparkly moments but I took some comfort in the fact that the horses were already surround by their own copious amounts of dung.
So I may never be mistaken for a Mexican cowboy at any of these types of events but I’m secure in the knowledge I can defecate on par with any of their horses! Merry Christmas to me!
by Joseph Toone
Joseph Toone is the Historical Society’s short-story award winning author of the SMA Secrets book series. All books in the series are Amazon bestsellers in Mexican Travel and Holidays. Toone is SMA’s expert and TripAdvisor’s top ranked historical tour guide telling the stories behind what we do in today’s SMA. Visit HistoryAndCultureWalkin