A brief discussion of some of our experiences while living and traveling in Michoacán, Mexico.
Sunday, March 11, 2012
This post began with a visit to a restaurant in Morelia to celebrate a friends 70th birthday. She wanted a “funky” restaurant and the San Miguelito of Morelia was recommended by locals. We knew nothing about San Miguelito but having hired a driver and worked our way through two road blocks - one at the Governor’s house and the other just short of the restaurant - we entered a large establishment with 3-4 sitting areas and lots of interesting “stuff” on the walls. The first room (The Altar of Conversations) was for families with appropriate decor, the second for business lunches (La sala de conspiracion) and the third where we were seated was called Rincón de las Solteronas (the corner for single women). This was an amazing room, every inch being covered with images and photos which we immediately realized were religious images, about 250 in total. But, they were all standing on their heads (boca de abajo). The image to the side of our table was a life-sized San Antonio, of course on his head. We gathered from the signs that this room was where one might find a partner. It didn’t look like singles bar. So, what was this all about - a religious parody? Was the owner anti-Christian?
No! The answer is much more interesting. San Antonio is the saint of singles and he can be approached in the search for a mate. While not very common today young women (San Antonio is not sexist, but the culture is) can take a small image of San Antonio to church, light 13 candles and while holding the saint on his head, make a petition for a mate. In the restaurant singles where to take 13 one peso coins and walk around the large image 13 times and on each rotation put a peso in the hand of the saint. Then, one writes your petition in a book at the side table. If your petition is answered you are entitled to return to the restaurant and turn one of the images right-side-up. We could not find one standing upright!