Retire in Mexico and Experience Good Friday in A Whole New Way

When you retire in Mexico (or just live here at any stage in your life) you will be experiencing life in a very Catholic country. There are towns in Mexico that do some impressive (and graphic) Good Friday celebrations. Near Cuernavaca, the town of Taxco has one such celebration.

People of all ages and walks of life make promises to God to suffer in some way in exchange for the salvation of a family member –perhaps from a grave illness– or some kind of support for themselves–perhaps they have committed a sin and need forgiveness or are overcoming an addiction of some kind. On Good Friday these people form a procession, carrying crosses, flogging themselves, walking on their knees, etc. The celebration is actually quite bloody.

Not all Mexicans enjoy such celebrations. One of my Mexican students has lived in Taxco yet has chosen never to attend, but one of her family members did and was splattered by blood when a participant whipped his own back!

I just saw a bit of a reenactment of Christ’s crucifixion on the cross “performed” in a town in the state of Mexico and broadcast on T.V. I caught the final bit where a man playing the role of Christ was on the cross — hands nailed through bleeding, chest heaving, crown of thorns covering his long-haired head. It was hard to watch and I had to double check with my husband that he hadn’t actually died when he stilled his chest and a person dressed as an angel with wings climbed a double-stacked extension ladder to release a white dove representing his holy spirit. My husband assured me that while, quite painful, the experience wasn’t deadly for this “Christ” as he had previously played the same role last year! Imagine doing that twice–that’s more than even Christ did.

Not all Good Friday celebrations in Mexico are so gruesome. Reportedly, in Oaxaca men give women flowers in the morning on this day. In my own neighborhood, church members accompanying the priest, carried the cross through the neighborhood and distributed little papers with self-reflection questions written on them. The questions included “What is the role of the cross in your own life?” and “Which crosses are hardest for you to bare?” The priest announced that people should consider their own answer to these questions, then gather in a street in our neighborhood at a certain time to share our answers.

Whatever your religious beliefs, when you retire in Mexico, the celebrations, beliefs, and traditions here will give you an opportunity to learn more about the Christian faith and its set of beliefs. Additionally, ss always is true of cross-cultural experiences, it will allow you to re-evaluate and know more deeply your own personal set of beliefs and traditions. That’s what makes retiring in Mexico vs, say Arizona, so special.

Children Raise Dust at the Park in Mexico

We went to the park this evening to get out for a bit. It’s vacation and the play area was packed with families. As we strolled past the merry-go-round, we almost choked on the dust being raised by the children’s pummeling feet.

I’m always impressed with how well Mexican children play around each other. Big kids consistently watch out for and help little ones. I guess they get lots of practice with brothers and sisters and cousins.

Choose a Place to Retire in Mexico that is Surrounded by Trees

Why should you choose to retire in Mexico in a place surrounded by trees? So you can watch the birds and other wildlife. This afternoon, when the shade filled our patio, I went out to read in our reclined rocking chair and I leaned back and saw the moon hanging in the blue sky above me.

The afternoon was enchanted and I didn’t get any reading done. The movement of light and shadow on the leaves as they gently rustled in a clean breeze captivated me and soon a small bird caught my eye. Then I heard a song I hadn’t heard in a while. A pair of birds not usually hanging around “our” trees was enjoying the atmosphere, too. One was singing a lovely, varied song and I went inside briefly for my bird books. I didn’t have my binoculars (that’s my excuse) so I couldn’t get a good ID for either bird, but I think they were thrashers–probably Gray Thrashers. I also saw a sweet little bird hopping from branch to branch gleaning bugs off of the back sides of the leaves on the mango tree. This one was a yellow flycatcher with a prominent white ring around it’s eye. This bird was possibly an Eye-ringed Flatbill even though the name surely doesn’t do the bird justice. (To be honest, I decided on the Eye-ringed Flatbill based on the yellow highlighting previously marked in my book by one of my relatives who is an experienced birder.) Unlike the Thrasher, this little bird is a more common visitor to our yard.

A third visitor, even smaller than the yellow flycatcher was gleaning bugs from the taller guava tree almost directly over my head. The rainy season hasn’t yet started and with the breeze there weren’t any pesky mosquitoes to drive me away. I remembered hearing similar sweet little “tzeet”s from flycatchers in the forests in the Pacific Northwest, but the birds were often so high up above my head, I couldn’t see them well. Here they were more easy to see at a height that would have been just out of my reach were I to stand up.

When you are choosing the place you want to retire in Mexico, remember that living in Mexico isn’t just about eternal sunny days. Sunny days means bird and butterfly migrations, means interesting lizards, and might even mean starry nights.

You may have noticed that I put the “our” in “our trees” in quotes above. That’s because our yard is actually quite small and most of the trees that attract birds are in the yards of my neighbors, and–even more importantly–our yards are contiguous with a wooded ravine that is too steep to develop. This ravine is the real reason we enjoy such lovely wildlife. After you retire in Mexico and you are choosing your house/apartment/property you might want to consider the kind of wildlife you are likely to see. I say you should “go wild” because you might see some really lovely creatures. For example, one day I was bored and looked out my open door to see a gray-green colored lizard puff out its throat exposing an eye-catching bright red patch. I’ve never had the privilege of seeing that sight again, but I’ve never forgotten it. Today’s enchanted afternoon made me grateful to be living in Mexico.