Tails of Mer

Nativity scene of mermaid and mermen

Scroll down to content

A creche of wooden, carved and hand-painted mermen

Height: 5-10 cm

We had previously seen the odd mermaid – often strumming her guitar – as part of a Mexican Christmas nativity scene. But this was the first time all the characters – the Kings, Angel, Mary, Joseph and even the infant Jesus – were proudly sporting pagan mermaid tails.

Which mermaid collector could possibly resist?

In our search for the ‘why on Earth’ (or Heaven) we stumbled across this insightful paper on the significance of mermaids in Mexican folk creches. It turns out that the landlocked peoples of the Americas likely discovered mermaids along with Christianity from missionaries hailing from Europe, and over time naturally combined new and traditional lore. According to Erika Esau, the local supernatural deity Chalchiutlicue, ‘Lady of the Emerald Robe’, was herself regarded as something of a “Virgin Mother of the minor gods of the heavens…” by the Aztecs. Her strong connection with holy (jewelled) water seems to have helped her swim quite naturally into the nativity scene which is, after all, a collection of members of the local community.

While this doesn’t explain an entire gathering of merfolk hanging around the manger, it has certainly opened up a new chapter of Mertails.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: