Sunday, December 25, 2005

If I May Say So, “Feliz Navidad”

To see photos from Christmas in Mexico City click on the title of today’s entry or copy and paste the following site into your browser:

At the risk of being “un-PC”, I’ve used the term “Merry Christmas” in today’s title. I’m mystified by the news from the States that people are in an uproar about the presidential “holiday” cards that don’t show a Christmas tree (or is it “holiday tree”) and that say “Seasons Greetings” rather than “Merry Christmas”. Doesn’t it make sense that since the cards are sent to people of all denominations they have a general greeting? Our society is so sensitive that now Christmas trees are being called “Holiday” trees. What holiday besides Christmas involves a tree? Trees have no place in Hanukkah, and I don’t think with Kwanza either. At the same time, I was pretty satisfied that for the five hours that I was out today, not one person said “Merry Christmas” to me.

Not knowing what was open or closed on Christmas day in Mexico City, this afternoon I ventured to the Historical Center, to the big park Alameda that is right in the middle of the city. I had read that some of the cows from CowParade were displayed around there, so I was on the hunt. I found a few along Avenida Juarez, across from the park, and took photos of the two that I liked. After capturing the couple of cows, my Jewish stomach sensed that it was Christmas and directed me to Chinatown, which is actually more like ChinaBLOCK. The couple of Chinese restaurants are just by Alameda Park. There I bought an egg roll, rice and vegetables and took it to go – I had more exploring to do.

I walked to the main plaza, the Zócalo, and found where Christmas was being celebrated – until then I hadn’t seen any signs that it was Christmas. The plaza was full of people, each surrounding building was covered in lights and there were vendors and traffic everywhere I looked. All over the square were stands with hot dogs, hamburgers, corn and cotton candy. The cotton candy floated in the air and kids of all ages jumped to catch the escaping treat. Covering the ground were vendors selling sweaters, hats and scarves and toys like giant balloons, sparklers and action figures attached to parachutes.

On my way home my American heart was beating nostalgically so I stopped at Wal-Mart and was surprised to find how crowded it was on Christmas night. Continuing with the American theme, I watched some NFL football broadcast on ESPN en español. I was shocked when the announcers wished the audience a “Feliz Navidad” AND “Feliz Januká.” Has being PC crossed the border?!? I hope not.