I don’t remember the noise of New Year’s Eve in Ajijic. But after October with the steady rotation of the statue of Guadalupe from church to church, rockets marking the progression every morning at 5am, and the two weeks of our saint’s festival, culminating in whole days of almost ceaseless explosions–not to mention having lived through the rainy season with the cascading thunder (!)–I am betting New Year’s Eve seemed quiet there in comparison.
I do remember walking through the village on New Year’s Day, spying the evidence of street fires in every neighborhood. Everything was rather impressively cleaned up, no trash or half-burned logs or even big ashes left in the road from the last embers. But you could see the charcoal remains dusting the cobblestones every block or two, and you could feel the quiet, everyone asleep after the big night. Later I learned from Ana they would make tamales and have a fire in front of their own house on Zapata. They would stay up all night, eating and drinking and enjoying each other, the family, the neighbors, nearby friends. Staying up all night seemed to be part of the tradition, though I didn’t ask why. One truly greets the new year that way, I am thinking, more than only marking midnight.
Now every year I picture them together in the street on New Year’s Eve, the firelight dancing on brown faces, dark shining hair. I imagine Rodolfo has made his pipián, and there is a big metal pot filled with homemade tamales, and the corn husk wrappers pile up beside it as the night moves toward the dawn. I can almost taste the masa, can almost hear them singing. Happy new year, everyone.