Tuesday, March 30, 2010
Little Altars Everywhere
This time of the year, during the Easter season, there are little altars everywhere. There are other times of the year also, but this, to me, is the most symbolic. The sweetness of the chamomile, bitter oranges, wheat grass and often gold stars appear so innocent.
On Saturday, after having been gone off and on for almost four months, I walked down to have a little maintenance done on my fingers and toes. A manicure and pedicure.
As I turned into the courtyard of the building where the beauty shop is housed, there was this decorated courtyard fountain. THEN I turned into the beauty shop and this small altar was set up on the counter next to where I would sit for all my maintenance.
It's so significant to me that it doesn't have to be elaborate or costly for these altars but that they are done. Period.
When I photographed the one in the beauty shop, the owner came over with a big smile on his face. He was honored that I thought it pretty enough to want to photograph. He told me it was in honor of his mother who had died many, many years ago.
To digress, the beauty shop owner is a very interesting man who is a Philosophy Professor at the University of Leon. There is a branch here in San Miguel. I can always tell the days he is teaching. He is impeccably dressed in a beautiful suit, white shirt and tie. How nice.
Symbolism is all over Mexico. Each item used on these altars has great significance. The bitter oranges signify the tears of the Virgin of Sorrows at the impending death of her son, Jesus. The chamomile and wheat grass signify renewal.
I'm sure there are more symbols that I'm not even aware of.
However, each year when I see these altars, I'm again touched by their sweet innocence.