Where Is Everybody?

They’re doing the Guadalupe Reyes marathon
BY: LUPE HIDALGO

The Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon is a concept typical of Mexican culture. It began in the decade of the 1990s and informally refers to a period from December 12 (Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe ) to January 6 (Day of the Three Wise Men or Tres Reyes Magos). During this period there are a whole bunch of holidays which, when linked together, create a marathon of festivities.

The celebrations linked together by the Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon are:

December 12: Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe.

Every evening from December 16 to December 24: The nine Posadas parties.

December 24: Last posada and Christmas Eve (Nochebuena)

December 25: Christmas

December 28: Holy Innocent’s day, which in Mexico is remembered by playing practical jokes.

December 31: New Year’s Eve

January 1: New Year’s Day

January 6: Day of the Three Wise Men

And just in case this isn’t enough for you,, there will be one last celebration of the season, Day of Candelaria on February 2.

The name of the marathon (Guadalupe Reyes) has also been used in advertising. Certain comedy shows sometimes feature the fictional character of “Guadalupe Reyes”, a proper Mexican name which can belong either to a male or a female.

Mexican customs and traditions are very extensive but when it comes to marathon partying, (and especially Christmas parties), it’s something else altogether. Let’s just say that the Guadalupe-Reyes Marathon is not athletic at all; it’s quite the contrary. For Mexicans, this is a very commonly heard expression once December rolls around and it is no wonder it is a success in our culture. If you are Mexican, you’ll know what we mean. We like to party.

There are many party days which it is fair and necessary to celebrate: from the 16th to 24th are the famous posadas. The 24th is Christmas Eve, the 25thChristmas; the 28th, the day of the Innocent Saints, the 31st is New Year’s Eve and finally, on January 1st, the first day of a new cycle.

No, it’s not a physically strenuous marathon in which one has to run long distances, but it does require a certain type of exertion in order to persist, without succumbing. Of course bets may be taken as if it were some type of sport to see just who among us can make it. Of course very little work gets done at this time of the year, you’re in the middle of a holiday for crying out loud!

This Mexican folklore has acquired popularity in recent years and the overall holiday atmosphere lends to the festivities. Though traditional posadas (Christmas parties) begin on Dec. 16th, “pre-posadas” are also now in style, just to have an excuse for partying the four days in the middle of the December 12th and the December 16th, the official date for the posadas. And any reason to get together is a good one.

And what to say about the celebrations at the offices with your friends at work, in which there is also an “intercambio de regalos” meaning that using some raffle system, everybody at the office takes out a piece of paper with the name of one of the people at the office and you will have to buy a Christmas present for that person and so on. So this way, everybody goes away with a present. Christmas…leftovers…post-Christmas gatherings where we can reunite with those who couldn’t be there on Christmas day. Then there’s el día de los santos inocentes (Innocents’ [pranksters] day), and of course there’s always a friend with a birthday around the 29th or 31st of December who is ready to celebrate, and thus we continue through New Year’s and up until Kings’ Day.

¡Feliz Lupe Reyes marathon to you! See you at the finish line, if you make it!