By Dr. Jacqueline Zaleski Mackenzie
GUANAJUATO, MEXICO — Last fall, I was informed there was a wedding coming up on January 14th. The couple was friends of our adopted campo family. There was no written invitation to the wedding or the reception.
Mid-December, a young man who has become a friend, came by with a formal invitation to his wedding. The handmade paper invitation was in the shape of a butterfly. The handwritten style was perfectly executed. The inset schedule laid out the entire afternoon and evening of January 21st.
I was informed that weddings in January are common, like June in the USA, January is the favored month for weddings in Guanajuato (GTO). The weather is typically a beautiful temperature here in the high mountains of Central Mexico. There is no rain or wind, and the holidays are over.
Jolene and I arrived at 1 pm at the tiny chapel in Yurabuena, Guanajuato. The couple was at the entrance standing side by side exactly at the appointed time. This is highly unusual in Mexico, most events really do start late because people are very polite and wait for everyone to arrive.
There were some people already inside, but most people flowed the couple into the chapel after they entered. The chapel holds about 150 people; there were about 100 people in attendance.
We both know the priest well and the chapel. We have been to other events at that darling little chapel in the past, and the priest is the traveling spiritual father who comes to Cajones (our campo) and Cieniga (the closest other campo) all the time.
There was a wonderfully, warm opening. The priest gave a heartfelt sermon. The couple exchanged rings and vows. They were “bound” with beads like the ancient “handfasting rites” of our native forbearers. They lit a candle together. Near the end, all the immediate family came up to the front of the chapel to pay their respects to the couple. Then everyone came up for photos with the couple.
The formal service was almost exactly one hour. The entire time young children were walking all over the chapel as normally occurs during these events. The photo-taking lasted another 30-40 minutes.
Back at the campo, there were portable ramadas in place and carnitas (pork) with rice, beans, and salsa was being served in a long thin local yard as soon as we got back. A five-piece band played until about 2am. There were about 200 guests at the reception.
The reception was a casual affair with lots of beer and soda and endless food coming from inside a local home.
Learn about Dr. Jacqueline Zaleski Mackenzie
Dr. Jacqueline Zaleski Mackenzie is the first researcher to permanently relocate to an indigenous village in Central Mexico. Mackenzie’s goal was to figure out why 49 percent of Hispanic students failed to graduate in the USA.
Mackenzie conducted research in rural Mexico beginning in 2005. She has combined the information she gathered: scientific research, statistical analysis, and personal exploits to produce an easy-to-read textbook titled Empowering Spanish Speakers – Answers for Educators, Business People, and Friends of Latinos.
Dr. Mackenzie’s book is evidenced-based, based on scientific research. Her approach is that by emphasizing teaching techniques that bring out the highest learning results and engagement for Latinos, more Latino students will graduate from school.
The book is owned by the nonprofit Summerland Corp. Therefore, book sales funds building rural libraries in Mexico that should reduce emigration from Mexico (making both sides of the political fence happy).