After we had resolved the problem with Frank's cash card (see previous post), we were then able to enjoy our first evening in Mérida. I had planned our arrival to coincide with the celebration of the city's birthday. January 6th is not only the Day of the Magi Kings, the day that Mexican children receive gifts from the Wise Men, but it was also the day on which the Spanish conqueror Francisco Montejo founded the city of Mérida in 1542.
Around 11:00 P.M. on the eve of the city's birthday, crowds began to assemble on Merida's Plaza de Santa Lucía. A procession was formed, led by a group of young people dressed in traditional Yucatecan attire. Following them were more than 130 musicians.
As the procession began to move down Calle 60, the principal street of Mérida's historic center, the spectators, including Frank and me, joined in the parade. While the musicians strummed their guitars and sang traditional songs, we all marched down the street.
When we reached the main plaza, the musicians assembled on a stage set up in front of the city hall, and gave a short concert of well-loved Yucatecan songs to the crowd.
By the time that the concert ended, it was just after midnight. It was now the 473rd anniversary of Mérida's founding. The musicians and audience all sang "Las Mañanitas", the traditional birthday song in Mexico. The festivities ended with fireworks from the roof of the city hall.
What a delightful way for Frank to spend his very first evening in Mexico. I have a feeling that Mérida is beginning to cast its spell upon him, and that by the time that his nine days here have come to an end, he will be thoroughly and irrevocably enchanted by the city.