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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 09/29/13

Sunday, September 29, 2013

ALBORADA FIESTA FROM MEXICO!







  San Miguel de Allende was founded in 1542 by Fray Juan de San Miguel when he built a mission to serve the many Indian groups in the area. It became known as San Miguel el Grande. The main church in town is the Parroquia de San Miguel Arcángel. Naturally the town takes great pride in celebrating the Feast Day of San Miguel, the patron saint. San Miguel de Allende can put on some great Fiestas and for this one they go all out. The feast day of San Miguel is September 29 but the actual celebration can last a week or more. The modern custom is to have the major part of the Fiesta on the weekend following Sept. 29 but the actual day is also celebrated.











   San Miguel, or Saint Michael the Archangel as he is known to the English speaking world, is noted for his warrior role. When Lucifer revolted against the rule of God it was San Miguel Archangel who was sent to do battle with Lucifer and banish him to Hades. San Miguel is often invoked as a protector for troops going into battle. He is always represented with his sword and armor signifying his role in combating evil forces. San Miguel's combat with evil is acted out in the Explanada in front of the Parroquia in a grand fireworks battle that takes place just before dawn. This dawn battle gives the name to the town's celebration of its patron saint, Alborada means "dawn" in Spanish.











   While the dawn fireworks battle is the most spectacular event there is so much more to this Fiesta. The weekend is pretty much non-stop Fiesta what with the all night celebration followed the next day by all-day parades, dance performances, and processions honoring San Miguel. The evenings are full also with cultural presentations, music, and even more fireworks. The Feast of San Miguel really goes on for more than a week. Almost every day there are one or two processions carrying the image of San Miguel to various churches and shrines around the city so that san Miguel can confer his blessings on these locations. Often they are accompanied by music and dances. In the afternoons and evenings there are often dance or music shows providing first class entertainment. If you plan on taking in the Alborada Fiesta consider staying for the whole week beginning around Sept. 26. The main part of the Fiesta is on the weekend starting Friday afternoon until 6 AM Saturday, then parades and dance












performances all day Saturday until midnight. Sunday morning it starts back up then late into Sunday evening. There is really only one 8 hour rest period all weekend.
   The celebration of the Feast Day of San Miguel Arc?ngel is on 29 September but the celebration can last a week or more with the major part of the Fiesta on the weekend following September 29. The actual calendar of events can vary from year to year but it follows a general pattern. In 2008 the events of the Fiesta lasted from 26 Sept. to 5











October, a period of 10 days. The weekend is pretty much non-stop Fiesta. Friday evening it is music and dancing in the Jard?n which last until the traditional Alborada around 4 AM Saturday morning. Saturday it is a parade in the morning and various processions all day culminating in the offering of the flowers (x?chiles) in the afternoon. That evening there is a pyrotechnics show with burning Castillos and aerial fireworks.
   Sunday morning has another parade, then all day and into the evening Indian dance groups perform in the courtyard of the Parroquia and in the streets surrounding the Jard?n. That evening another pyrotechnic show caps the Fiesta.













   While the weekend is the most intense time of the Fiesta of San Miguel Arc Angel other events happen all week long. Mostly they are processions carrying the statue of San Miguel to various churches and shrines around town. There are also various presentations of dance and music. To see the entire Fiesta plan on spending a week in San Miguel de Allende - never a dull moment!

VAMPIRE TRUTHS AND MYTHS!





  1. A group of vampires has variously been call a clutch, brood, coven, pack or clan. (a clan if their Scottish!)
  2. The Muppet vampire, Count von Count from Sesame Street, is based on actual vampire myth. One way to supposedly deter a vampire is to throw seeds ( usually mustard) outside a door or place fishing net outside a window. Vampires are compelled to count the seeds on the holes in the net, delaying them until the sun comes up.
  3. A rare disease called porphyria vampire like symptoms, such as an extreme sensitivity to sunlight and sometimes hairiness. In extreme cases, teeth might be stained reddish brown, and eventually the patient may go mad.
  4. One of the most famous "true vampires" was Countess Elizabeth Bathory (1560-1614) who was accused of biting the flesh of girls while torturing them and bathing in their blood to retain her youthful beauty. She was by all accounts a very attractive woman.
  5. Vampire legends may have been based on Vlad of Walachia, also known as Vlad the Impaler (1431-1476). He had a habit of nailing hats to people's heads, skinning them alive, and impaling them on upright stakes. He also liked to dip bread into the blood of his enemies and eat it. His name, Vlad, means son of the dragon or Dracula, who has been identified as the historical Dracula. Though Vlad the Impaler was murdered in 1476, his tomb is reported empty.
  6. One of the earliest accounts of vampires is found in an ancient Sumerian and Babylonian myth dating to 4.000 B.C. which describes ekimmu or edimmu (one who is snatched away). The ekimmu is a type of uruku or utukku (a spirit or demon) who was not buried properly and has returned as a vengeful spirit to suck the life out of the living.
  7. Prehistoric stone monuments called "dolmens" have been found over the graves of the dead in northwest Europe. Anthropologists speculate they have been placed over graves to keep vampires from rising.
  8. Chinese vampires were call a ch'iang shih (corpse-hopper) and had red eyes and crooked claws. They were said to have a strong sexual drive that led them to attack women. As they grew stronger, the ch'iang shih gained the ability to fly, grew long white hair, and could also change into a wolf.
  9. In 2009, a sixteenth-century female skull with a rock wedged in its mouth was found near the remains of plague victims. It was not unusual during that century to shove a rock or brick in the mouth of a suspected vampire to prevent it from feeding on the bodies of other plague victims or attacking the living. Female vampires were also often blamed for spreading the bubonic plague throughout Europe.
  10. According to several legends. If someone was bitten by a suspected vampire, he or she should drink the ashes of a burned vampire. To prevent an attack, a person should make bread with the blood of vampire and eat it.
  11. The legend that vampires must sleep in coffins probably arose from reports of gravediggers and morticians who described corpses suddenly sitting up in their graves or coffins. This eerie phenomenon could be caused by the decomposing process.
  12. According to some legends, a vampire may engage in sex with his former wife, which often led to pregnancy. In fact, this belief may have provided a convenient explanation as to why a widow, who was supposed to be celibate, became pregnant. The resulting child was called a gloglave in Bulgarian or vampirdzii in Turkish. Rather than being ostracized, the child was considered a hero who had powers to slay a vampire.
  13. Folklore vampires can become vampires not only through a bite, but also if they were once a werewolf, practiced sorcery, were excommunicated, committed suicide, were an illegitimate child of parents who were illegitimate, or were still born or died before baptism, in addition, anyone who has eaten the flesh of a sheep killed by a wolf, was a seventh son, was the child of a pregnant woman who was looked upon by a vampire, was a nun who stepped over an unburied body, had teeth when they were born, or had a cat jump on their corpse before being buried could also turn into vampires.
  14. Mermaids can also be vampires--but instead of sucking blood, they suck out the breath of their victims.
  15. In some vampire folktales, vampires can marry and move to another city where they take up jobs suitable for vampires, such as butchers, barbers, and tailors. That they become butchers may be based on the analogy that butchers are descendants of the sacrificer.

PUMPKIN CHEESECAKE WITH A GINGER BOTTOM!





Ingredients for the base:


  • 250 grams of biscuits gingernut
  • 80 g of unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp mixed spice
Process biscuits until mixture resembles fine breadcrumbs. Add butter and mixed spice, process until just combined. 
Line the bottom of the 23 cm tin with baking paper. Press crumb mixture evenly over the base and side of 23 cm baking tin. Refrigerate 30 minutes or until companies.
Wrap the tin with aluminum foil twice.


Ingredients for the cheesecake mixture:
  • 750 g curd cheese, minced 
  • 250 g mascarpone cheese
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 Tbs lemon juice
  • 3 Tbs potato flour (cornstarch)
  • 1 Tbs plain flour
  • 190 g caster sugar
  • 425 g pumpkin puree
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
Should be all ingredients at room temperature.
Put all ingredients in a large bowl with electric mixer and beat until smooth.
Set oven to 170 º C. Pour cheesecake mixture into tin. Place the roasting tin in a trey and pour hot water wrapped around the tin to come about halfway up the sides of the springform. Set temperature to 150 ° C. Bake for about 1 hour 30 minutes or until set. Remove from oven, cool to room temperature then put into the fridge for 12 hours.
Additionally:
  • 120 ml whippnig cream, chilled
  • 2 tsp icing sugar

Beat the whipping cream in a mixer bowl until creamy in consistency. Add icing sugar and beat. Decorate just before serving.