January 6th marks the birthday of our favorite capital city! Founded in 1542 on what was once the famous Mayan city of T’ho, Mérida, the cultural and artistic epicenter of the Yucatan region, is 471 years old this year.
The celebrations begin on the evening of the 5th and continue throughout the month until the 26th during what is known as the Festival de la Ciudad. The Festival kicks off on the eve of the city’s birthday with the traditional “Alborada,” a serenade performed by hundreds of the area’s singers. Songs and dances continue throughout the evening until the stroke of midnight, when a ringing of bells celebrates officially the birth of the beautiful city.
In proper Catholic tradition, January 6th also marks the Epiphany, or “Los Reyes Magos” as it’s known in Mexico, the feast day that marks the revelation of the Son of God in the form of Jesus Christ. Mexican children are given presents to acknowledge the gifts of the Magi to the baby Jesus and masses are held throughout the day.
Throughout the following weeks, throughout the Festival de la Ciudad, more than 1,000 artists will gather in every neighborhood of Mérida to honor it. More than 250,000 people are expected to attend the musical events, theatrical performances and artist exhibitions.
Photo by http://www.merida.gob.mx