Saturday, December 15, 2007

Tradition and Customs

Funny isn't it how we can go someplace and not have a clue as to what many of their customs and traditions may be that have been handed down over years and centuries. In my many travels I have found it interesting to always attempt to learn something about the local customs where ever I go. Some years ago while in the beautiful village on La Paz in Baja I was lucky to observe one such tradition. As the sun begins to set allowing the light evening breeze to cool things down the amber lanterns are lite around the main plaza that sits by the harbor. It isn't long until the locals come out and begin enjoying the companionship of friends and family in this beautiful and romantic setting.

As I relaxed and enjoyed some fresh caught lobster on an open thatch restaurant I watched young children rushing around playing with old worn out skate boards and doing what all young children seem to do best... laugh and have fun. As the evening continued I saw older families sit on benches placed in the middle of the ornate square. It wasn't much longer until I began to observe young couples that aged anywhere from teenagers to young adults in their 20's as they walked together around the circle. Many of then were being followed by chaperons or parents of whom took turns following. It was funny to notice that at times when they passed a corner where they were not not visible from the chaperons it took longer that it should have for them to reappear. As it turned out I learned this has been a tradition that has been going on for many hundreds of years.

What reminded me of that wonderful tradition was what I read about the beautiful village square in San Miguel de Allende. It seems they have a very similar tradition in San Miguel de Allende as the one found in La Paz. The village square in San Miguel de Allende is called El Jardin Principal and is located across from La Parroquia which is without a doubt one of the most beautiful and ornate churches I have ever seen. There are trees surrounding the outer perimeter of El Jardin.

In the evening, there are wandering mariachis and bands. On Saturday evenings there is a traditional promenade of young people which takes place. The difference I found interesting was unlike La Paz, in San Miguel de Allende the boys walk around the perimeter of the Jardin in one direction, and the girls going the opposite direction. As is the tradition in La Paz the parents in San Miguel de Allende can keep a wary eye from the benches within the square.

It was very much an honor for all of us to park our cars in El Jardin especially in front of La Parroquia since as a rule nobody is allowed to bring cars there. I can't begin to tell you how peaceful it was there and at one time I had forgotten my digital camera on a bench but when I returned an hour later it was still there.

Here you can see some of the beautiful scenes surrounding El Jardin including my sone Will by the arches, some young people and I having fun pretending to down the world's largest shots of tequila and one of the many amazing stained glass windows within La Parroquia.

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