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El Pueblo Welcomes in the Holiday Season

By Ed Fuentes
Published: Monday, December 08, 2008, at 01:25PM
El Pueblo Christmas Tree Ed Fuentes

El Pueblo's Holiday Tree fronts the La Iglesia Metodista de la Placita (The Plaza Methodist Church).

Friday night was El Pueblo’s turn to use the well-traveled City of L.A. ceremonial switch and signal in the season by lighting the plaza's holiday tree. It was the first of a busy event schedule for L.A.'s birthplace.

On Friday, after a brief ceremony with CD14's José Huizar, a reception served up pan and Mexican hot chocolate while Mariachi Gallo Negro, a young Miguel Angel, and Ballet Coco Grupa Folklorico entertained the crowd.

The night wasn’t over for Huizar, who toward the end of his allotted time at El Pueblo was being pulled to the car by his youngest daughter. Evidently, she is his personal holiday event scheduler and was making sure he would not be tardy for two other tree lighting ceremonies elsewhere in his district.

But that is the way the season is. A lot to do, and it's no different at the birthplace of the city:

The Virgen De Guadalupe Celebration is an all-day festival held Thursday, December 11, and Friday, December 12. By the weekend's end, you can expect to see thousands of candles alongside the Our Lady Queen of Angels church's (La Placita) exterior Guadelupe mural. It makes an impressive pond of light.

Then El Pueblo's own “Las Posadas at Olvera Street” begins December 16 and runs until Christmas Eve. The re-enactment of Joseph and Mary’s nine-night search for sanctuary is held for a symbolic nine evenings from 6:30pm to 8:30pm. Merchants and their family member walk through El Pueblo inviting the public to join in and sing-along. This tradition is over seventy-years old, and considered one of the oldest events in the city.

As some of you know, Los Posadas was the background for Leo Politi’s 1946 childrens book “Pedro and the Angel of Olvera Street.” And as El Pueblo marked 2008 as the year author and artist Leo Politi would have celebrated his 100th birthday, this year series of procession will be led by a designated “Pedro,“ according to the Leo Politi family website. The website also reports a special edition printing of the famed book will be available, this time with the Politi‘s art printed in color.

Unfortunately, budget cuts are another city tradition. That prevents The Pico House and the Chinese American Museum from extending their hours closer to events held in the evening. Still, if you plan well you can celebrate the city’s diversity with “Sunshine and Struggle," a survey of Italian-American’s contribution to the growth of early Los Angeles (covered previously, and recently extended). Or there's the Chinese American Museum's exhibition of Corky Lee's black and white documentary photography showing the Asian-American civil rights era in “Asian Roots/American Reality.”

As a last add, I do like the tree in front of the Plaza Methodist Church. In previous years, it was next to the fake burro. The El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historical Monument Holiday Tree has a little more dignity in this new location.

For a full schedule, go to El Pueblo De Los Angeles Historical Monument.


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