A much-depleted posada posse leaving Doña T's last night. We'd provided Cherry with some ear-plugs, but she kept pulling them out. In the end the low-key nature of this salida was emphasised by the absence of cohetes. (Still, at almost any time of the year you can put our dog into a paroxysm of fear just by imitating the sound of the turtle shell drum: toc toc toc tottoc.)
Things had been very different the night before. The arrival of the posada outside Doña T's is the highlight of the season. People queue up outside her gate in anticipation of her ponche and panes, plus the big plastic buckets that she gives away. Very few even bother to follow Mary and Joseph around the neighbourhood, as that would put them further back in the line.
Do we detect a hint of dissonance in the way that this albeit distantly sacred ritual has been so enthusiastically embraced by local leeches? Perhaps not. For a glance through the Gospels reveals that the earliest followers of the mature Christ (one would hesitate to refer to such interesados as Christians) were only really up for it as long as rabbi Jesus could pull off the trick of feeding five thousand with a few loaves of bread and cheap plonk. (Coming up with plastic buckets in ancient Judea really would have been a miracle.)