Friday, December 20, 2013

Archeological discovery in Ecuador

The Telegraph, from Great Britain, has recently reported on a fascinating archeological site in Ecuador that presents more questions than answers so far.  It appears to be a huge wall at a 60-degree angle, up to 260 feet tall.  Take a look.  I also found it very interesting to read the comments of interested readers, especially since the explorers themselves comment and respond to questions and speculations.

Un pensamiento

"Every language is a world. Without translation, we would inhabit parishes bordering on silence."

     ---George Steiner, via archipelagobooks

Monday, December 16, 2013

Tradiciones navideñas

Las posadas begin today in México.  Every night for these nine nights before La Navidad, many people celebrate this tradition in their neighborhoods or cities.  Las posadas literally translates in English as "the inns" or "the lodgings" and symbolizes the Biblical journey of Mary and Joseph as they searched for shelter in Bethlehem before the birth of Jesus.

The nine-day celebration lasts from December 16 to Christmas Eve (Noche Buena) or "Holy Night") and includes a candle-lit procession of children and parents reenacting Mary and Joseph's journey through Bethlehem.  As with all holiday traditions, there are numerous variations.  Not every Hispanic country celebrates Las posadas.

The holiday ritual includes a lively and colorful pageant of neighbors and friends (the "pilgrims" or peregrinos) - costumed as Joseph, Mary, angels, shepherds and the Three Wise Men - who travel from house to house until they reach a designated home where Las Posadas will be celebrated that year. Each night they may be admitted to a different house, where celebrations take place on a minor scale.  Upon arrival at a home, the hosts or "innkeepers" meet the procession at the door to begin the holiday fiesta with an exchange of lyrics from the traditional Pidiendo Posada.  The song includes lyrics asking for lodging, and the pilgrims continue to be refused entrance until they are recognized as the Holy Family.  On the last night, 24 December, the designated hosts throw the biggest party.
Parties often include food, drink, prayers, music, fireworks and piñatas.  Hot chocolate, tamales, buñuelos, arroz con leche, orange and beet salad are among the traditional foods offered.