Monday, December 13, 2010

Pastorela and Posada with Rotaract

Saturday I attended a Pastorela and Posada with the Ciudad de Mexico Rotaract Club at Fundación Renace.

Fundación Renace is a place for treatment for alcoholics and drug addicts and the patients range from children to adults.

A pastorela is a skit and the tradition goes back to colonial times when the Spanish used skits to evangelize/convert the indigenous. The pastores or common people are always faced with a dilemma and there are angels and devils who try to convince them to choose the good/bad option. There's a battle between good and evil and good always wins.

In this skit, a family was traveling to seek a healer for their sick son (the guy with the shark/piranha on his head because the sickness was "consuming" him). The devils wanted to found a new hell and needed 4 willing souls, so tried to convince the family they could help. The angels (all 3 characters were based on famous singers) intervened and tried to convince the family not to believe the devils. There was a battle between the good and evil forces and in the process the sick son was killed. However, Death said that since he and his family had shown faith and believed, he would give him another chance to live and without the sickness.

This was the third year the Ciudad de Mexico Rotaract Club has hosted a Posada at Fundación Renace, but the first year that one of the people who lives there has participated in the Pastorela. One of the boys played Death and did a great job -- his gestures/movements were hysterical and the audience loved seeing  someone they knew up there performing.




From there, the posada started. The group divided into two groups, one representing Joseph and Mary pidiendo posada (seeking shelter) and the other group the innkeepers. We sang the the traditional song, which is a call and response between the two groups, asking for shelter until finally they're invited inside.

view from the "innkeeper's" side,
with  figures of Mary and Joseph and the group asking for shelter
on the other side
the Posada song

From there, they hung the piñata (that I helped make the week before) from one of the rafters and people started taking turns trying to break the piñata. 

hanging the piñata

I've seen piñatas in the US, but they definitely make it more fun/challenging in Mexico! Someone is in charge of holding the other end of the rope and once the person is blindfolded, they lift and lower the piñata. The crowd has to direct the participant with shouts of "higher",  "lower", "in front of you", etc. They can also mess with the person though and a couple times (especially with the boys) they'd raise the piñata all the way up so the participant was swinging at the air. 
There's also a song the crowd sings and the participant's turn lasts the length of the song. 

When the piñata finally broke, there was a mad rush (of little and big kids) to get the candy inside. 
From there, we all enjoyed bread/pastries and coffee and then the Rotaract Club + guests went on a tour of the building to learn more about the Fundación. Let me just say it is a very strange building -- it used to be the Public Bath building, as in from back in the day when there weren't baths in the houses so everyone went to the community building to bathe. It's obviously been converted a bit, but it's still rather strange, with shower rooms serving as bedrooms, for example. 

Touring the facility and learning more about what goes one was definitely a bit intense. It was a bit uncomfortable at times when our guide would talk about things in front of the patients, but I guess that's a way to show it's all a part of life and the process and not something to hide. I'm glad to see that Mexico City has this type of service available, although they have very little funding. A lot of what they have comes from donations -- and we saw the huge tortilla-making machine that the Rotaract club had purchased previously. 

Ciudad de Mexico Rotaract Club + guests 

After we finished, I went out to lunch with 3 of the members and we enjoyed some seafood (marlin tacos and shrimp tacos and spicy shrimp) at a restaurant called Mi Gusto Es. Yum!

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