feliz_navidadAs I sit peering down the city sprawled out before me below, lights twinkling in the dawn’s early light, I find time now to reflect in the quiet of the morning breeze. The town will be abuzz in the coming hours with one of it’s “highlight reel” days. Christmas Eve Day here in at vacations Puerto Vallarta, in a country deeply rooted in it’s Catholic traditions, will start slowly then crescendo into an all out party by midnight. The main event will possess all the glitz and glamour of Hollywood, (PV style) and will culminate in festivities at the plaza at the base of Our Lady of Guadalupe church in the center of town.

At the moment the cool morning breezes blow the Bougainvilleas gently, the crashing waves pound out their rhythmic pattern on the beach, and yet I read of snow drifts to the north. A Christmas in the tropical paradise of Banderas Bay, whether here on vacation or if you call this gem by the sea  your home, is a truly unique experience.

From the cultural standpoint, the festivities begin in early December with the hanging of lights and traditional decorations through out the town. The birth of Our lady of Guadalupe on December twelfth marks the start of the “official” holiday season, and continues, non stop, through January sixth with the Epiphany or Los Reyes Magos, the day of the three Kings. The Posada season of neighborhood processions and work parties kicks off nine days before Christmas Day, which is enough time to get your fill of all the town has to offer culinary and beverage wise. Believe me, it’s true!

The climate this time of year is absolutely superior. Coming off the rainy season, which at times remind me of the monsoons I experienced in India as a boy, the vegetation comes to life. Birds of Paradise spread their splendor in every corner garden, orchids sway gracefully in the cool “winter” breezes, bougainvilleas cascade down from above through out the town, but the signature flower of the season is the poinsettia. Indigenous to Mexico, they plentifully adorn every establishment.  One can find them in the wild or for purchase at virtually every shop in town, creating splashes of color at every turn.

Between the colorful foliage and costumed locals, the festive music that echoes up and down the cobblestone streets, the season becomes a virtual smorgasbord for the senses!

I want to share a photo from last evening that brings this all together for me. The Nativity scene on the beach, framed by the poinsettia clad Christmas tree in the town square, and the sun setting over the Sierra Madre Mountains, still stands for a moment when we all can find peace and share goodwill with our fellow man….no matter the location.

Feliz Navidad from Puerto Vallarta!

Malcolm Farley

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