Monday, December 16, 2019

Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events Monday, December 16

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On Sunday, Dec. 15, the state ban went into effect on the islands of Isla Mujeres, Cozumel, and Holbox prohibiting the sale and use of single use plastics and styrofoam including straws, plates, cups, containers, and plastic bags from stores for purchases.

Thursday's 'reverse sunset' (looking east) from Maravilla Caribe Bed & Beach, photo by Bruce.

Photos of Thursday afternoon's procession of little Lupitas & Dieguitos making their pilgrimages honoring the Patron Saint of Mexico by walking from the downtown church to the Guadalupe chapel in Salina Chica. Juan Diego was the shepherd who witnessed the appearances and miracles of the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose image was miraculously imprinted on his cloak. Photos by Bruce.

From the City....

Announcement about 20% property tax discount available thru the end of the month and can be paid at the special module (at the Town Hall) 9a-3:30p.

The City will assist INEGI to facilitate the 2020 Census and will provide facilities that have been requested by personnel with INEGI (National Institute of Statistics and Geography), on both the island and the Continental Zone. The Census will take place March 2-27. There will be another meeting on January 24, and on March 6th, and a concluding meeting on May 3rd. Municipal agencies that will work with INEGI include the municpal police, the Department of Civil Protection and the firefighters, the DIF social service agency, the Department of Urban Development, and the Department of Social Development. The requests by INEGI include providing security, surveillance ans protection for the interviewers who visit house by house, as well as providing assistance with the dissemination of information on the official City sites.

The island is ready to receive the increasing number of national and foreign visitors, who have begun to arrive.

   Noti Isla Mujeres     
Videos with captions of Sunday's vote from the federal government about the Tren Maya/Mayan Train.

VIDEO with caption saying on Friday, Aguakan was finishing the repairing and sweeping of the street at Punta Sur where they had installed wastewater lines. (The reporter asks..."The whole "U"-loop around?" and the response is "Yes")

VIDEO from Friday,  Dec 13 touring the repaired road at Punta Sur, starting on the Caribbean coast.

From  Por Esto :

Concern that costumed characters are annoying tourists  

“Enmascarados” abusan de los turistas

  There is concern that costumed characters have begun annoying tourists by the manner in which they insist on each tourist paying them for each photograph. They arrive from Cancun in the mornings and walk around on Rueda Medina to provide assistance to businesses there, which was welcomed for promotion and entertainment of tourists. They wear costumes representing Batman, the Mask, and a Pirate, among others, and it seems they have become independent from the businesses, because there is an opportunity to  make more money with photo opportunities for one or two dollars.
   Witnesses have complained they are now demanding payment for each member of a family of visitors, especially with foreigners, which is causing annoyance.  They don't ask for pesos up front, but after posing with people, they extend their hands, and if someone declines, they insist, saying "I have to eat and live."
   Gustavo Rodriguez Orozco plans to investigate the situation. He is aware that the business owners requested permission for them to come, and now a document has been requested about the businesses disassociating with them, in order to proceed with asking them to leave. There are concerns about their effect on the image of the island.

Aguakan reopened the road to Punta Sur on Friday  

Finalmente, Aguakan libera la Punta Sur

  Golf carts and other vehicles could be seen circulating normally. The parts of the road were blocked at times in November and early December, and the work began in August to install the wastewater network and connections. Delays and road blockages caused the City to promote taking legal action against Aguakan, if the road wasn't opened by December 15th. The City also required that the road be properly repaired and finished, and not just patched.

Maintaining communication in the schools   

Mantienen comunicación con los escolares

  The DIF social service agency hosted the presentation of a play "You Decide" to  students of the Benito Juarez public middle school. This is part of a program by the agency to prevent unwanted pregnancies and alcoholism, and to strengthen communication between yound people and their parents. They've also had the program at the Jean Piaget school, and have interacted with about 600 students. The program will continue in 2020.

Isla Mujeres news briefs  


The undefeated Cockteleros were traveling to Playa del Carmen to play the Chuchos, in the 10th game of the circuit, hoping for the postseason qualification in the IV Championsip of the Northern League of Q.Roo. The Chuchos are in second place in Group A, and the Cockteleros, who have eight wins,  need to beat them to secure the qualification. The status of wins & loses for the other teams are: Chuchos 8-1, Ejidatarios 7-1; Cancun Rockies 8-1 and Kantunilkín 4-3.
  The other brief has information that was already translated about the  Añoranzas dance troupe traveling to perform at the XXV Fair of Oranges on Saturday, Dec. 14 in Oxkutzcab, Yucatan.

Holiday season "Guadalulpe-Reyes security operation begins

En marcha operativo Guadalupe-Reyes

  This information has already been translated about the security operation that will continue thru Three Kings Day, coordinated between the three levels of government.

Strict control on sale of fireworks  

Estricto control a la venta de pirotecnia

   Personnel with the Department of Civil Protection have been visiting stores and notifying owners that there will be no permits issued for the sale of pyrotechnics. If these items are found for sale by owners who ignore these warning, they will be subject to fines and potential closure. It is noted that these items put the population at risk, particularly children and pets. If residents see these items for sale, they are encouraged to report it to Civil Protection at 877 0106.      

Chapel inaugurated at the Community Hospital  

Hospital Comunitario ya tiene capilla

     On Thursday, Dia de Guadalupe, personnel with the hospital attended the inauguration of the chapel which was blessed by priest Raul Sanchez Alonso. It is noted that the usual event honoring the Virgin of Guadalupe took place on the night of Wednesday Dec. 11, and included many believers who participated in the run from the downtown church to the Guadalupe Chapel in Salina Chica. Attendees sang inside and outside the chapel, at midnight and on the first moments of Thursday.  The street to the chapel was closed off, which affected traffic. The runners took a different route this year, going thru Sac Bajo, and avoiding the area of road construction near Punta Sur. It is estimated that about 1500 Catholics attended Wednesday night's events.
   There was a food tasting at the municipal Mercado downtown, festivities by the taxi union with food, and many families organized prayers and festivities in their home. The children's procession from the downtown church to the Guadalupe chapel was scheduled for 3pm.

Successful celebrations of the Virgin of Guadalupe without incident  

Reportan saldo blanco en festejo


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Fine dining a few steps away at Da Luisa or try the neighborhood eateries a couple blocks farther. We provide a list of links & direction to over 20 eateries within ten minutes walk, including Mango Cafe,  Mike's Pizza, Brisas, Rosa Sirena, Manolitos, La Chatita, Green Verde, Kash Kechen Chuc, and the large department store-grocery , Chedraui & local craft brewery.  Visit marinas, bars, & beach clubs that are minutes away by bike or on foot. Attend Yoga classes a couple villas away at Casa Ixchel. Fresh juice, produce & tortillas a few blocks away in the village, as well as a variety of other stores. It takes 20-30  minutes to walk downtown.
Full moon rising over the Caribbean 
December 12   6:46
December 13  7:42
December 14   8:42
December 15  9:44
December 16 10:46
December 17 11:48

Painting by Pamela Haase at MVC
 Sunset  ~6:04-6:16p (start-end/mo) 
Sunrise ~7:08-7:24a (start-end/mo)
December Events 
Provided by MaraVilla Caribe & Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events

Wednesday nights at 8:45p, the group "Isla en Bici" bike around the isle, meeting at Juarez &  Abasolo. Lights required, helmet recommended. LINK

Thursday afternoons ~3p-8p Artist Fair on the Paseo de la Triguena off the Town Square at the malecon by the food trucks. 

Thursday, Nov. 28 The Festival for the Town Saint, Our Lady of Immaculate Conception began
when the icon was removed from her niche. 
 The Cabalgata horse procession is Saturday, Dec. 7th at noon & Por Esto says it will travel from downtown to the colonias. That evening at 7pm is the vehicular caravan around the isle, and at 9pm is the Mass of the Mañanitas with Mariachi.
On her Day, Sunday, Dec. 8th are the Communions (10a) and the procession by the boats in the Bay (3p), with the closing Mass and return to her niche at 6p.

Sunday, Dec. 1 at 7pm on the Town Square--Lighting of the Christmas lights & dance troupe performances!
The Guadalupe-Reyes holiday period begins with the celebrations for the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose day is Dec. 12 and continues thru Dia de los Reyes, Three Kings Day on January 6th.

Wednesday, Dec. 11 The run is after the 7p Mass and here is the route. It begins at the Catholic Church on the Town Square, going toward Mundaca as usual, but then they will go into Sac Bajo, past Dolphin Discovery, returning on that same street, then going right to the Sacred Heart Church in La Gloria and along the Caribbean coastal road to the Capilla/Chapel of Guadalupe in Salina Chica. Singing of Las Mañanitas outside the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in colonia Salina Chica at ~10:30

Guadalupe pilgrims
Dec. 12. Dia de Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. At 3pm is the procession with children dressed up as Juan Diego, and shepherdesses, from the downtown Catholic church on the Town Square to the Guadalupe Chapel in Salina Chica overlooking the Caribbean. Pilgrimages are made in honor of Guadalupe, sometimes adults carry her statue on their back, which is blessed before they return to their homes. 

Thursday, Dec. 12 Full moon rise just after sunset. Some meteors will occur between 8p and dawn, but tomorrow will be the main event. 

Friday, Dec. 13-Geminid Meteor shower peaks and is considered one of the best & "most reliable", because the individual meteors are bright, and they come fast and furious, often in "spurts". This year the fainter ones will be invisible because of the full moon.They begin slowly at ~8p, peak around 3a, and continue until dawn, radiating from a point left of the moon, near a bright star called Castor. Look out over the sea, there's less light pollution, and since they may come in  ~15 minute bursts, there may also be 15 minute periods of inactivity or low activity. 

The Posadas Navidenas take place Dec. 16-24 and usually include at least one event on the Town Square, featuring regional dances and probably costumes from different parts of Mexico. Schools, businesses, City departments, and individuals celebrate the season and comraderie at posada parties. "Posada" means "Inn" and the term commemorates Joseph and Mary seeking shelter for the birth of Jesus, but it's a general term for these seasonal parties. During this period, you'll see groups of children caroling and carrying a branch, singing "La Rama", which is a regional tradition & it's appropriate to reward them with coins.

Saturday, Dec. 21 Winter solstice is December 21

The Annual  "Elmo Christmas Golf Cart Caravan" is Saturday, Dec 21st,  meeting in front of MaraVilla Caribe Bed & Beach (in Bachilleres, in front of the dome, just north of Salina Chica on prolongacion Aeropuerto aka Jesus Martinez Ross) and Casa Ixchel at 5:30, facing south. The procession of decorated carts is led by characters in costume, Elmo, Mickey & Minnie & Santa, and the participants toss candy & toys as they wind south thru the colonias, and then head downtown. Both foreign & Mexican residents participate & everyone's invited...BYOCart & Candy/Toys 

Saturday, Dec. 21 Ursid meteor shower

Tuesday, Dec. 24 Noche Buena, many businesses may close early so employees can celebrate with their families.

Wednesday, Dec. 25 Christmas  Most tourist-oriented businesses will be open 

Saturday, Dec. 28   Dia de los Santos Innocentes A day of practical jokes, similar to "April Fool's Day"

NYE on Town Square by Eduard Joao
Tuesday, Dec. 31 New Year's Eve celebration on the Town Square with a band. Tables can be purchased in advance, and are usually put on sale after Christmas, but they sell out quickly & there's not a lot of advance warning before they are available. The last ferry is usually cancelled, and the first one or two on New Years Day. The celebration begins before midnight and continues until morning. It is traditional for many islanders to greet the dawn at Punta Sur, where the sun touches Mexico first. Some businesses may start late, or be short staffed until later in the day.

 In December, Ruben's charity (link) is very active collecting toy donations & putting together hampers for low income families, to be distributed on Three King's Day, January 6th.
Día de Guadalupe...honoring the Patron Saint of Mexico
Dia de Guadalupe by Tony Garcia
According to accounts published in both Nahuatl and Spanish in the 1600s, the image of the Virgin Mary appeared to the indigenous peasant, Juan Diego, in the hills of Tepeyac in the outskirts of Mexico City on December 9, 1531, when Juan Diego was on his way to the city from his village. (Later she also appeared to his sick uncle.) The young woman was surrounded by light & spoke in Nahuatl, telling Juan Diego that a church should be built in her honor at the top of Tepeyac hill, where there had once been an Aztec Temple to the goddess Tonantzin.
Artwork by Pam Haase
    But when Juan Diego told this to the Spanish archbishop, the priest didn’t believe him and told Juan Diego to go back to Tepeyac and ask the Virgin for a miracle. The Virgin told Juan Diego to gather Castilian roses at the top of the hill. She helped arrange the flowers in Juan Diego’s tilmátli (a type of cloak), and he carried them back to Mexico City.
     When he arrived on December 12 and opened his tilmátli in front of the archbishop, the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe had been imprinted on the cloak. It is still on display at the Basilica de Guadalupe, one of the most visited shrines in the world.  Written by Ronda Winn Roberts

Pinatas & Catholics: Changing Customs

Pinatas are an essential part of the Christmas posada celebrations, which take place Dec.16-24. "Posada" means inn, and these celebrations commemorate Mary & Joseph seeking shelter in Bethlehem for the birth of Jesus. The parties include refreshments, songs and prayers, (or may be less religious) and the breaking of a pinata, which traditionally has seven points, representing the seven deadly sins. Although much of the religious significance has been lost over the years, traditionally, breaking it symbolized the triumph of good over sin, and receiving rewards from God. Although blindfolds aren't usually used in Isla, they're said to symbolize blind faith, and the person providing guidance represents the guidance of the Church. Here, the pinata is usually suspended on a pulley so it can be hoisted up and down, while attendees sing the 'pinata song' and children take turns swinging at it.
The custom of breaking pinatas among Europeans is said to have come from the Chinese, via Marco Polo. In our region, the Maya had a game in which each player, blindfolded, hit a clay pot suspended by a rope, which contained valuable cacoa seeds.
When the Spanish arrived in the "New World", they found the Aztecs celebrated the origins of their God of war for 20 days in the month of panquetzaliztili, aka December. During these festivities, the Mexica priests hung banners and placed a clay pot, richly adorned with colored feathers, on a pole of the temple. When it was broken, small treasures fell as an offering at the feet of Hitzilopochtli. The Spanish Conquistadors made use of these Aztec traditions when converting them to Christianity, covering the clay pot with colored paper, and imposing new meanings and traditions.
The Spanish exchanged these December celebrations for events called "Misas (Masses) de Aguinaldo" in which passages & representations allusive to Christmas were read, and small gifts, called "aguinaldos", were given to attendees. Nowadays, this is the name of the end of year payments that are mandatory for workers in Mexico, (and the equivalent of two week's pay). Written by Ronda Winn Roberts 

Celebrating New Year's in Isla Mujeres
   To celebrate New Year's Eve, some families set up tables in the side streets with pinatas strung overhead, and dine on turkey stuffed with seasoned ground meat, while others crowd the Town Square for live music, dancing, and fireworks. Each neighborhood brings in the New Year with a bang, and the skies explode with color in all directions.
     During the NYE countdown, there is a tradition of eating twelve uvas de buenas suerte (grapes of good luck), each representing a month, with a toast of champagne or cider. The party on the town square continues all night long. At the other end of the isle, people gather at Punta Sur to greet the first rays of the sun at the eastern-most point in Mexico.  
     Other customs include cleaning your house on New Year's Eve & sweeping out bad luck. Wearing red underwear could bring you love in the New Year, or  your white undies may bring you peace, while yellow represents wealth. Those who hope to travel should grab an empty suitcase and carry it around the room or the block, and set it by the door. If you drop a shoe on New Year's morn and it lands "boca arriba" (face up)  you will enjoy good luck in the upcoming year. 
The old year is represented by a life sized character called El Viejo, The Old Man, who is later filled with fireworks and set ablaze. He may resemble a politician, and he is usually holding cigars & tequila. .
      Kids receive toys on Dia de los Reyes, January 6, when families, friends, and coworkers share rosca de reyes. King's cake, usually with hot chocolate. If you get the Baby Jesus,it means you'll be hosting a party & providing the tamales on Candlemas Day, Feb.2.

Sources for Weather Information:
LINK to Civil Protection Q Roo weather bulletin  (Spanish)
LINK to Mexico National Weather Service (Spanish)
 LINK to satellite images for the Mexico National Weather Service
 LINK to GOES East Band 16 GIF (animation)
LINK to a private weather station on Isla Mujeres

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