Isla Mujeres News & Events on Facebook
Today Isla Mujeres continues to report a total of 226 cases of C-19 with
20 deaths and 189 recovered. The state geoportal now reports one active
case in colonia El Canotal. For 12/1, on the national map our
municipality reports 151 suspicious and 123 negatives.
Isla's Patron Saint festivities were an annual regional event, back when the state was still a Territory whose inhabitants were isolated from each other by the lack of roads. Bulls, bands & families ferried to the island to join the festivities. This tradition has lived on, as evidenced by the large number of horses & riders that travel here for the Cabalgata procession & associated celebrations. Of course, the public events are suspended this year due to the pandemic--here's last year's history article about it. I'll publish some photos from previous years.
For over a century, generations of Islanders have gathered together to celebrate their Patron Saint "Conchita", whose legends include a journey from Spain, discovery in an abandoned sixteenth-century church, and a case of mistaken identity, as well as occasionally shedding tears, starting fires, wandering the coast, and influencing the weather.
In Mexico, Patron Saint celebrations feature a week or two of loud music, dancing, singing, fairs, fireworks, rodeos, religious gatherings and processions. In Isla, this begins tonight at the 7p mass when the icon of the Virgin of Immaculate Conception comes down from her niche to join hundreds of devout islanders walking together thru the downtown streets, singing in her honor. Later there will be festivities on the Town Square with live music and dancing.
"Conchita" is one of three "sister" statues relocated by three fishermen from the ancient Catholic church, Boca Iglesia, in the late 1800's, several decades after Isla Mujeres was founded. The icons are wooden carvings with hands and faces made of porcelain, and the other two were taken to Kantunilkin and Izamal. They were presumably brought to the church by Spaniards in the late 1700's.
Boca Iglesia church is located ~40 miles north of the island, where the Spanish first landed in what is now Mexico, after visiting Isla Mujeres in March of 1517. It was constructed the following year on the site of a significant Mayan city, but the isolated Spanish settlement never prospered.
"Conchita's" first shrine on the isle was a small palapa chapel, and legend has it that when it was time to move her to the church, eight men had difficulty lifting her, although normally two people can easily carry her. After she was moved, the palm chapel burned down, to everyone's astonishment.
Another version of this story says that enemies of the church attempted to destroy the icon in the small chapel, but the four men were unable to lift it, so they ran away, frightened. Their cabin burned down several days later, which was attributed to anger from the sacred image.
Islanders have claimed to see "Conchita" walking around the island or on the sea, perhaps seeking her sisters, and it's said that one morning her dress contained burrs and sand. Residents say they have witnessed the image shedding tears and some have seen her face expressing joy or sadness, or changing to images of their dying or deceased relatives.
In the previous century, musicians & families from around the region would travel to the island to join in this popular festival which will end on her Day, Dec. 8th, when she'll return to her niche after a boat procession around the Bay. Meanwhile, during the next week and half, ~20 groups will hold events in her honor, concluding next Saturday with the Cabalgata horse procession, the vehicle Caravan, and the Mariachi Mass, followed by the communions & other events on Sunday.
There's a local legend that attributes the bad weather that often occurs after the 8th to her unhappiness about the celebrations ending. However, due to a case of mistaken identity, she also gets out for a week of festivities in August, because for her first 24 years in Isla Mujeres, it was thought that she represented the Virgin of Assumption.
Isla Mujeres History is sponsored by Maravilla Caribe Bed & Beach, and Isla Mujeres News & Events. This article was written by Ronda Winn Roberts.
Photo #1 of Isla Mujeres in the late 1800's when "Conchita" arrived. #2 is Boca Iglesia, considered by many to be the first Catholic church in Mexico. #3 is the bullring at the 1944 festivities.The bull(s), musicians, and visitors arrived together & it was traditional for the band to strike up a tune in the Bay, and for the attendees to dine on the bull(s). (Bullfights have recently been banned.) #4 is "Conchita" who wears new clothes each year, and past dresses may be on display next to the Church, photo by Tony Garcia.
Link to FB site for online religious events.
From the City (Ayuntamiento de Isla Mujeres)
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Full moon Nov 30 Monday 6:28p
Dec 1-Tuesday at 7:15p
Dec 2 Wednesday at 8:06p
Dec 3 Thursday at 9:01p
Dec 4 Friday at 9:58p
Sunrise 7:08-7:24 (beginning vs end of month)
Public events have been suspended due to C-19. Holidays have featured online competitions and events.
usual Patron Saint festivities from late November until her Día de la
Inmaculada Concepcion on December 8th are suspended, but the priest will
celebrate a Mass with a holy rosary each day for each of the groups and
organizations, according to a schedule.
Saturday, Dec. 12 Dia de Guadalupe, Patron Saint of Mexico
Dec 13-14 Peaking of the Geminid meteor shower--This is one of the two
best showers of the year (the other is August Perseids). The sky will be
dark all night (new moon) & the largest numbers will be visible
around 2a (when the radiant point is highest in the sky). But you should
see them from mid evening until dawn, weather permitting. There should
be a 'smattering' of meters the nights before & after, and it builds
to a peak the week before. This shower features meteors that tend to be
bold, white and quick, with up to 50-150 per hour when peaking in
optimal conditions, like this year's moonless sky. On Dec. 11,12,13, the
slender lunar crescent and planet Venus will rise in the eastern sky at
or near dawn.
Posadas Navidenas Dec 16-24 will presumably be suspended along with the two decorated Caravans.
Monday, Dec. 21-Solstice
Tuesday, Dec 22-Dark predawn hours-Ursid Meteors (active Dec 17-26, much less than Geminids)
Thursday, Dec. 24 Noche Buena--Many families celebrate, so some businesses may close early and the last ferry crossing could be suspended, as well as the first one on Christmas morning.
Friday, Dec 25- Christmas
Dec 27-Jan 10-Quadrantid meteors, which will peak Jan 2-3, but the moon will interfere.
Monday, Dec 28-Dia de los Santos Innocentes--Similar to "April Fool's Day"
Thursday, Dec 31-New Year's Eve events will presumably be digital & public events suspended.
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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