December 8, 2006

Christmas spirit ready in Tijuana

By Pablo Jaime Sainz

The lightning and blessing of the Tradicional Nacimiento by Tijuana’s Archbishop Rafael Romo Muñoz, at Parque Morelos last December 6, officially kicks off the Holiday season in the city.

At the ceremony, Mayor Jorge Hank Rhon said that the Nacimiento should be a place to unite families.

He added that nacimientos are a traditional symbol of Mexican Catholicism.

“Bring your families to Par-que Morelos to learn more about nacimientos,” Hank said.

This is the 25 year since construction company URBI created the first nacimiento in the city of Mexicali, in 1981. So far, this is the biggest nacimiento ever made in Tijuana, said Javier Moreno, URBI general manager. To create the first nacimiento in 1981, URBI hired artisans from Tlaquepaque, a city famous for its nacimiento figurines.

The nacimiento is located in front of the park´s main pedestrian entrance.

And although it is considered a Mexican tradition, Naci-mientos actually began in 1223, in the town of Grecio, Italy. Archbishop Romo Muñoz said that nacimientos were created by Saint Francis of Assisi as a way to recreate the birth of Jesus Christ.

During the event, Tijuana Catholic officials announced several events that will take place during the Holiday season to celebrate Christmas.

On Tuesday, December 12, Catholic churches in Tijuana will have peregrinaciones, which are a sort of parade where the faithful sing and pay tribute to Our Lady of Guadalupe. People walk through the streets with a large statue of La Guadalupana.

The midnight between December 11 and 12, fireworks and chants can be heard.

During this Holiday Season, when you walk through the streets of Tijuana, you can see, hear, smell and feel Christmas.

It is in these days when downtown streets are packed with people going from one place to another looking for the perfect gift for their love ones. Stores are full of special sales, trying to get costumers’ attention.

There’s a lot to do in Tijuana during the Holiday season, besides shopping.

The Choir of the Baja California Orchestra’s Music Conservatory will have a Concierto de Navidad on Dec. 11 at the auditorium of the Instituto de Cultura de Baja California, Av. Centenario 10151, Zona Río (next to Tijuana city hall). It will be at 7 p.m. and it costs 50 pesos (about $5). More information: 011-52 (664) 684-8609.

Also, Tijuana’s most populat pastorela “La campesinela” will be presented on Dec. 13 at Centro Cultural Tijuana, Paseo de los Héroes y Mina, Zona Rio. The play tells the story of Mexican immigration to the U.S. through the story of a group of sheperds. It will be at 8 p.m. and it costs 150 pesos (about $15). Tickets: 011-52 (664) 687-9600.

Then on Dec. 14 the Baja California Orchestra will perform “Gala navideña,” also at Cecut. It’ll be at 8:30 p.m. and it costs 150 pesos (about $15).

Grupo Teatral Kabuki, which performed during the blessing of the Parque Morelos nacimiento, will present its version of La Pastorela at de Cultura de Baja California, Av. Centenario 10151, on Dec. 18, at 7 p.m. It costs 50 pesos (about $5).

In many areas of the city, the traditional posadas are taking place, where colonia residents get together to celebrate the birth of Christ.

Posadas are, in many occasions, the center of the Holiday celebrations in Tijuana: companies offer one each year to its employees where they break piñatas and give out gifts; schools cancel classes so that children can share their joy; they also share gifts; in clubs they have parties that although they don’t have the same feeling as those taking place in the streets of colonias.

Also during this time of the year Tijuana gets full of pastorelas.

In Tijuana, as well as other parts of Mexico, pastorelas are theatrical representations of the birth of Jesus, of the struggle between good and evil, of the temptations that the Diablo presents the shepherds.

Most of the time pastorelas participants are children who, encouraged by their schools at a Christmas festival or by their local church, they play the role of Virgin Mary, San José, the Three Wise Men, angels, demons, and shepherds that come to pay tribute to Baby Jesus.

It is from “pastores” (sheperds) that these skits get the name of “pastorelas.”

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