Mexico's patron saint lights up the sky
By Catherine Dunn Original Print Publication: December, 2006
Don José's personal gift to Guadalupe was this "castillo" full of stars.
IV. The show
Don José says the air is blowing in a good direction. If it were blowing toward us, the smoke would cover all the fireworks and we wouldn’t see a thing. Watching the show with him is like touring a gallery with an artist. Those orange flower stalks shooting from a vase are cohetes de luz. Those colossal blossoms are bombas tipo crisantemo con centro. Practical names for pretty things.
Voices in the crowd try to identify the dibujos: “butterfly… bell… crown.”
A Mickey Mouse dibujo, the Pope, and San Juan Diego appear. Cohetes corredizos, little white corkscrews twist off into the night.
Guadalupe lights up in rose, then green, then twinkling flashes. White showers spout from her side.
Nuns in white habits hurry through the crowd to watch.
But what’s that?
Peering at one fuzzy dibujo, Don José says, “You can’t understand that picture very well. It’s not well outlined.”
It’s a single, noticeable blip in the parade of dibujos and it’s soon eclipsed by a host of Guadalupes coupled with petitions:
Mother Mary, cover us with your mantle.
Queen of México, beg for us.
Bless la pirotecnia, Lupita.
The pirotécnicos kindle their icon, Mexico’s Virgin sent to Juan Diego, and reflect her back toward the heavens.