Monday, December 2, 2019

Isla Mujeres Daily News & Events Monday, December 2

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The Patron Saint festivities began on Thursday, when the icon for the Virgin of Immaculate Conception was taken down from her niche to join a procession with hundreds of islanders thru the downtown streets. This is on Matamoros.

From the City....

The municipal government will provide facilities for the National Institute of Statistics and Geography (INEGI) with the 2020 census, which will take place March 2 -27. It occurs every ten years and is the basis for the distribution of the federal budget. The municipality provides security, surveillance and protection to interviewers who visit home by home. People who will not be home can respond on the official webpage of INEGI. It is important that no one is overlooked. The Municipal Committee to Assist the 2020 Census has been formed via which officials will participate and provide support.

Graphic about the upcoming census..."Does your house have electricity? Ask me!"

Property tax discounts

A closure seal was placed on a golf cart rental agency on the main street of Isla Mujeres (photos)

VIDEO of the start of the Christmas festivities on the Town Square

From  Por Esto :

Isla Mujeres news briefs  

Breves de Isla Mujeres

   Dozens of young people are competing in nine teams in the second mural competition on 100 meters of the Mundaca Hacienda wall along Los Peces avenue. The contest is coordinated by the foundation America Unida and its theme is "Youth and the Environment". 
   On Saturday, figures of sea-life and the environment began appearing and the winners will be awarded on Sunday evening. There are more participants this year, compared to the previous competition. This foundation and local businessmen are working together for the construction of the Catholic University complex nearby, which is expected to open soon.
   It is suggested that with the approach of high season,  areas of Punta Sur should be cordoned off and people should be hired to protect tourists from falling off the cliffs, since some of them put themselves at risk while taking pictures from dangerous locations. This summer, a tourist over 60 years of age fell about 10 meters off a cliff, and fortunately landed in the sand without serious injuries  or loss of consciousness, suffering contusions and a dislocated shoulder). He fell while taking pictures (after stepping over a fence to reach the area) and was rescued by personnel with Civil Protection & the Firefighters.
Patron saint festivities have begun 

Inician las fiestas patronales

  There are 22 groups participating in the celebrations which conclude on Dec. 8th, see events section.

High level of security at the beaches  

Alto nivel de seguridad en playas

  The Director of Tourism, Gustavo Rodriguez said that high levels of security at the beaches have resulted in no reports of theft in recent months. He attributed this to sufficient surveillance by the police, lifeguards, and service providers.  He said there have been occasions when visitors have lost their belongings due to carelessness or forgetfulness, but no reports of thefts.  He noted that levels of security have been increased in recent years since white and blue flag awards were given to North Beach and Playa Centro by national and international organizations. He said they are ready to meet the challenge of providing security for the thousands of tourists who will visit the beaches daily during the winter season.  He added that lifeguards are required at all the establishments along the beaches, who will reinforce this system of care and protection of tourists.
   A couple visiting from Tijuana at the small hotel "Icaco" filed a complaint with PROFECO saying the services that were advertised online didn't match the reality, and they had expected higher quality for nearly 5000 pesos per night. They complained that the manager, who is Canadian, wouldn't refund their money. Mr. Rodriguez said this is the first case of alleged fraud of this kind, and he hopes that with the intervention of PROFECO, the client will receive satisfaction.

Many mosquitoes are reproducing in the drainage network 

Muchos zancudos se reproducen en la red pluvial

   There are concerns among residents in the colonias that parts of the storm drainage network have  become a breeding ground for mosquitoes, especially in Salina Chica. A resident of the part of that colonia known as "Los Chiapanecos" said there are more than 100 meters of the network where there are juvenile insects on the surface of stagnant water, ready to go out and feed in the following hours. There is a metal grill over the drain and underneath can be seen water, trash, and aquatic plants. It is noted that the health brigade frequently adds chemicals, but when their effects wear off, the problem returns, so they want the drains cleaned and maintained.
  However, there are more than a dozen homes in the Los Chiapencos are that are not connected to the drainage network at Jesus Martinez Avenue, because their homes are in a low area, which is an old problem that has never been resolved.
   There are also concerns about mosquitoes breeding in the storm drains of the colonias of Salina Grande, Meteorologico, La Gloria, and Canotal, as well as in the Salina and Makax lagoons during this rainy season.  Officials with the Vector Department of the State Ministry of Health in Isla Mujeres confirmed they are continuing with measures to prevent the outbreak of mosquito-borne diseases, and applying chemicals at various points and they remind residents to collaborate so the problem doesn't get out of control.

Recuperation of sand completed on North Beach 

Concluye recuperación de arena en playa Norte

   Recovery of about 500 square meters of the beach known as El Riito near the bridge to islet El Yunque has been completed, which began in October. The Federal Zone agency (ZOFEMAT) hired a company for this effort, after receiving permits from SEMARNAT (Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources. A small geotube was added to help retain the sand (which was relocated from the sandbar that formed near Na Balam hotel.
   With this measure, in 2020 there will be more space in Playa Norte, since twice as much area has been recovered at the other end of Playa Norte, where a private individual obrained authorization in 2018 to install 100 meters of geotubes. In addition a dozen geotubes were installed by the end of Carlos Lazo street by those holding concessions in the Federal Zone there. There are some parts of North Beach that still show the effects of Hurricane Wilma in 2005.
    It is obvious that the beach is in very good condition, with no sargasso except very small amounts on the east side, which is quickly cleaned up by workers who clean the beaches early in the morning.  Together with Playa Centro, they offer space for thousands of visitors to enjoy during the upcoming winter season.
    There are three lifeguard towers, and training for the lifeguards of the companies based in the area. There was only one death, which occurred in the summer allegedly caused by the negligence of the swimmer who went beyond the buoys and wasn't a strong swimmer.

No date for the return of Naveganto  

Sin fecha de regreso de Naveganto

    When the Naveganto ferry stopped operating on Monday, Nov. 18th, to be replaced with two lighter boats, it was announced that service was expected to resume at the end of that week. It was said that the paperwork was ready, and the boats needed to go thru the procedures to prove their suitability for the waters in the Bay (and ability to dock), which usually occurs overnight, and then the boats are ready to operate in the following days. There have been no updates from the ferry company.
   Officials with the Isla Mujeres Harbor Master said these procedures are under the administration of the Regional Harbor Master at Puerto Juarez, and that they hadn't been notified that Naveganto would suspend operations on the 18th. This was announced on social networks by the company without direct communication with the Isla Mujeres Harbor Master's office.

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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 25-30  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
 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.
The first four photos are by Bruce, including the cabalgata as they passed by MVC Bed & Beach....offering him tequila. The last two are by Tony Garcia.

Sunday, Dec. 1 at 7pm on the Town Square--Lighting of the Christmas lights & dance troupe performances!
The Guadalupe-Reyes security operations begin in early December, which may include checkpoints, particularly at night, to prevent drunken driving. In Mexico, the holiday period begins with the celebrations for the Virgin of Guadalupe, whose day is Dec. 12 and continue thru Dia de los Reyes, Three Kings Day on January 6th. The security operations involve increased patrols and usually begin before the 12th, during the festivities for the patron saint of Isla Mujeres. 

Dec. 11 Singing of Las Mañanitas outside the Chapel of Our Lady of Guadalupe in colonia Salina Chica ~10p-midnight.

Guadalupe pilgrims
Dec. 12. Dia de Guadalupe, patron saint of Mexico. There is usually a run in the morning from the downtown church to Punta Sur to the Guadalupe Chapel, after the 7a Mass. There is usually a procession in the afternoon with children dressed up as Juan Diego, and shepherdesses, between the downtown church and the Guadalupe Chapel. Pilgrimages are made in honor of Guadalupe, sometimes carrying her statue on their back, which is blessed before they return to their homes.

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. More than 100 per hour may be visible, although this year the fainter ones will be invisible because of the full moon.

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.
Photo:Tony Garcia
Patron Saint of Isla Mujeres: "Conchita"

The icon of the Virgin that is honored during the Patron Saint festivities is one of three "sister" statues removed from the church of Boca Iglesia in 1890 by several fishermen. (Boca Iglesia was one of the first churches established in Mexico, and is in the municipality of Isla Mujeres.). It is thought that the statues were brought to the church by the Spanish in the mid to late 1700's. They were carved from wood, with hands and faces of porcelain. The other two are in Izamal, Yucatan and Kantunilkin, Quintana Roo. The ruins of the church are difficult to access thru the mangroves, by boat, and in recent years, access has been blocked by private property owners.

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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