|Illuminated Guadalupe, Akumal MX|
|Mexican Promotional Poster for Guadalupe Reyes Marathon|
The Guadalupe Reyes Marathon is not a religious holiday per se, but rather ties existing holidays in a new way. Guadalupe Reyes came into being in the 1990's as a pop-culture event. Someone saw the fun and profit in turning merging the independent end-of-the-year celebrations into one nonstop alcohol-fueled fiesta. Something like this was probably already happening and advertisers saw the potential profit in it. The key idea of the marathon is to drink some form of alcohol every day of the event, which runs through December 12, the Feast of Guadalupe to January 6, Dia de Los Reyes and then further onto Candelaria (February 2). Bars do a brisk business during this time period and the Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon is heavily promoted by Mexican tourism.
The Feast of Guadalupe
|Novena for Guadalupe, Akumal MX|
|Altar at the Guadalupe Mass, December 12, Akumal MX|
The Marathon begins with the Feast of Guadalupe, technically December 12 but with celebration ongoing for about a week before the actual date. Please refer to this link for a broader discussion of the beautiful ways in which this holiday is celebrated.
Below are photos of pilgrims on their journey for Guadalupe this past December.
|Group of pilgrims near Tulum, MX|
|Solo Pilgrim near Tulum, MX|
|Pilgrim running near Tulum, MX|
The Feast of Guadalupe does not end with the early morning religious service on December 12. The partying continues throughout the day and although I did not know it at the time, the folks in these trucks were among the many Mexicans starting the Guadalupe Reyes Marathon.
|Pilgrims after Guadalupe's Mass, December 12 Akumal,MX|
|Pilgrims after Guadalupe's Mass, December 12, Akumal,MX|
Having a Christmas tree next to your statue of Guadalupe is a typical thing to do in Mexico.
Although the "posadas", the big Christmas celebrations, typically happen between December 16 and 24, they can begin sooner. As I drove down a Quintana Roo highway, this past December 9th, I saw a huge of taxis parked along the side the highway.
|Parking for the Posada at the Sindicato de Taxistas, Playa del Carmen, MX|
|Parking for the Posada, Sindicato de Taxistas, Playa del Carmen, MX|
This painting by famed Mexican painter Diego Rivera, shows a posada. Here the revelers are breaking a piñata, which is typically filled with sweets.
|Posada by Diego Rivera|
base with decorative paper.
|Piñatas and other decorations, Playa del Carmen, MX|
|Christmas Decorations Center of Playa del Carmen, MX|
Dia de Los Reyes
|Manger, Playa del Carmen, MX|
|The Three Kings arrive at the Manger, Playa del Carmen, MX|
With Christmas and New Years Eve over the Marathon heads to Dia de Los Reyes, which marks the arrival of the Three Kings to visit baby Jesus. This is the time when children receive most of their gifts, in remembrance of the gifts that the kings brought Jesus, and adults exchange gifts with each other.
|Rosca de Reyes in Mexican grocery store|
|Rosca de Reyes|
These cakes link Dia de los Reyes with the February 2 Feast of Candelaria, which commemorates the presentation of Jesus at the Temple and the Purification of the Virgin Mary. The tradition is that whoever finds the baby in the Rosca is blessed, brings the figure to the church service on February 2 and is responsible for hosting a party for everyone that day. Although Candelaria is not an official part of the Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon, the celebrating often keeps going until then.
Partly because of the drinking, there is a rise in traffic deaths in Mexico during the Marathon, although not all of it is attributed to the excessive alcohol consumption.
Nowadays there are two sides to Guadalupe-Reyes. One focuses on the traditional goal of excessive alcohol consumption and partying, as in this humorous ad showing Lucha Libre wrestlers struggling to get to the end of the Marathon.
|Getting to the Finish Line of the Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon|
|The Health Hazards of Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon, Mexico|
|The dangers of excessive alcohol consumption, Mexico|