Some of the wonderful traditions celebrated here in Mexico can take you a little by surprise and others can sneak up on you.
Sometimes a growing cacophony of honking, blaring music and singing will cause pedestrians to pause to wait for the parade procession to appear around a corner while taxis make mad dashes to escape the hubbub before partygoers on slow moving floats shorten their workdays.
And then some traditions are a little more subtle, missing the fanfare yet just as moving and important.
My May trip to Tulum coincided with one of the more subtle traditions, marked by huge crosses I saw on many construction sights in a new section of Tulum.
At first I thought that a famous person had died that morning; a dignitary or Mexican rock star, but the crosses were so colorfully decorated with crepe paper and bows that I thought the decorations looked too happy and whimsical to show respect for the death of someone important. Plus, the workmen on the job sites were happy and smiling.
I took some photos of the crosses that seemed so small on top of the buildings, but I caught one being set up and by the heights of the construction crew hammering and wiring it into place knew the cross was at least six feet high.
The crosses were quite beautiful, and some had long trails of tissue paper wafting around in the wind. I could hear some of the tin foil used for effect and pie plates tinkling together on some.
When I arrived back at Playa Azul Tulum, I asked my new friend Ricardo at the front desk the story behind the crosses, and he explained to me that once a year the Mexican ‘trabajadoras’ the laborers, place a cross above their worksites, for God to see and pour blessings and safety over the people working there for the following year.
I thought to myself, ‘What a wonderful custom’, and it certainly looked pretty above the townscapes to see all the beautiful crosses with their colors and tails of colors waving in the wind.
I just love Tulum, with all its wonderful smiling people and their delightful idyllic customs.