Culture

Mexican Abuelito Vows To Give Kids Free Sleigh Rides In His Santa Claus Mototaxi Until He Dies

For the last seven years, a Mexican abuelito has been rigging his motorcycle taxi to look like a Santa Claus sleigh, to the delight of children in his Oaxaca neighborhood, and is vowing to offer free sled rights to children for “as long as God gives me life,” he told a local outlet. Jerónimo Flores, 75, and his generosity have gone viral after a relative shared images of his mototaxi to Facebook, further spreading his Christmas cheer even beyond Juchitán, Oaxaca, the southwestern Mexican state that gave birth to the modern-day sleigh. Over the course of many years, Don Flores has been using his own savings to deck the halls of his mototaxi, purchasing materials, and constructing the design himself so that the front of the taxi looks like a giant Santa Claus head. The taxi’s headlights appear as glowing cheeks, while the driver’s windshield is protected by bushy white eyebrows and a pair of makeshift giant Santa Claus glasses.

This year, he had the idea to tow a sleigh behind the mototaxi and is vowing to let children right in the sleigh for free for as long as he lives.

Over the last couple of months, Don Flores emptied his savings account to pour 12,000 pesos ($628) to rig his mototaxi to be able to tow a sleigh full of children for free.

CREDIT: CORTA MORTAJA

Don Flores has been elevating his Santa Sleigh game every year since 2012, becoming an instant classic in his neighborhood’s Christmas celebrations. Complete with a larger-than-life Santa hat, a pink nose, and scruffy white beard, Don Flores’ Santa mototaxi is well known in his neighborhood. This Santa doesn’t retire to the North Pole all year long, however. The glowing-cheeked Mr. Claus also makes an appearance for Mexico’s Independence Day and on Halloween. This year, however, Don Flores had an idea that would require the help of his adult children and much more money. 

Don Flores built this two-row “floating” sleigh so that children could hop aboard for a ride in Santa’s sleigh for free.

CREDIT: ARTURO GARCIA / FACEBOOK

Even though Don Flores is well beyond retirement age by most folks’ standard, he continues to have to work for a living, driving his mototaxi around town. In his older age, Don Flores doesn’t seem to be slowing down. Once the idea to build the sleigh came to him, he couldn’t let it go, enlisting his sons and daughters to help him build the magical sleigh. The way they rigged the neon lights at the bottom even offers the optical illusion of a floating sleigh! “This year it occurred to me to build a sled to ride my children and children for free, without charging anything. I will continue this until God gives me life,” Don Flores told La Republica.

You better believe that the inside of Santa’s sleigh is decked out, too.

CREDIT: ARTURO GARCIA / FACEBOOK

What’s a Mexican sleigh ride without the most miniature of nativity sets anyway? Don Flores makes sure that his patrons and their children feel the magic of Christmas at every step on his mototaxi. Christmas lights line nearly every border of the taxi, from the sleigh to the brim of the Santa hat, to the seat cushions. Don Flores has become a beacon of light in every sense of the word in his community.

Santa may even need to build another sleigh to meet the demands of Juchitán’s children!

CREDIT: ARTURO GARCIA / FACEBOOK

“Beautiful ride with the mototaxi sleigh! Congratulations Abuelito Fito Flores,” Don Flores’ grandson, Arturo Garcia, posted to Facebook last week. Since then, the photos have been shared over a thousand times. “How beautiful! I already imagine the beautiful memory he is leaving his grandchildren. They will remember him forever,” one fan comments. Don’t even think about uttering, “OK, Boomer,” to this abuelito. “The most beautiful technology,” commented another fan. 

Today, Don Flores is known as the “Santa Claus de Juchitán.”

CREDIT: ARTURO GARCIA / FACEBOOK

For good reason, too. Flores has made it clear that he’s invested his money and energy into offering a little bit more magic to kids at Christmas time. “It gives me this pleasure, this joy of seeing the children,” Flores told Sopitas. If you’re in the neighborhood, you can support the good cause by becoming a paying customer of Don Flores. Every paid ride is a free ride for the children to have a big dose of Christmas magic.

READ: Here Is A 12-Song Playlist To Make Your Christmas Very Festive

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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Mare Advertencia Lirika’s Rap Game Is An Ode To Social Resistance

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Mare Advertencia Lirika’s Rap Game Is An Ode To Social Resistance

In Oaxaca, Mexico the hip-hop scene is dominated by men. Influenced by early ’90s American rap artists, most lyrics are misogynistic; a commonality in past and present wrap.

As a feminist uprising fuels the country, female rappers like Mare Advertencia Lirika utilize the depth hip-hop activism can have on social justice.

Growing up listening to banda, Lirika became exposed to American hip-hop when she was 12.

Although a fan, her language barrier impacted her resonance with the genre. After hearing Mexican rap groups like Caballeros de Plan G and Vieja Guardia, her spark for rap reignited.

“The history of rap is a mix of so many things that it gives room for anyone to fit into it,” she told Refinery29.

At 16, her rap career took off.

Under a machismo culture where women are often told ‘calladita te ves más bonita,’ Lirika defies outdated standards.

In her latest feminist anthem “Que Mujer,” she encourages women to rise up against patriarchal rhetorics.

With passion and prowess, her bona fide representation of class and gender struggles echo marginalized communities disenfranchised by systems of power.

Femicide rates in Mexico are rampant, having doubled in the last five years. On average 10 women are killed every day, but due to unreliable data and systematic impunity, many cases go under-investigated.

Oaxaca is a hot spot for violence, a reality Lirika knows too well. When she was five, her father was murdered resulting in the circumstantial feminist upbringing that fueled her vocality. Raised by her mother, grandmother and aunts, witnessing women take charge in making tough decisions helped to normalize her outspokenness.

Her feminist upbringing made her the strong woman she is today.

Identifying as Zapotec, an indigenous community native to Oaxaca, Lirika’s potent lyrics pay homage to her matriarchal upbringing and social resistance.

In “¿Y Tú Qué Esperas?” Lirika’s hearty alto sound shines as she asks that women speak and live their truth.

In songs like “Se Busca” she renders a poignant message demanding the return of those who have been kidnapped. Her visuals further amplify the severity of the issue as she raps, “cada persona que no está es un ausencia que no sana.”

Unafraid of confrontation, her cutthroat verses and poeticism are visceral.

Listening to her beats feel reminiscent of old-school rap, making it almost impossible to not nod along to her intellectual wit. Fusing the melodies of cumbias and reggae among others, she spits bars that sound the alarm of revolution.

But hostility towards women in the Oaxaca rap scene still lingers.

“Most people still think that women aren’t compatible with rap and think that we are wasting our time,” she told The New York Times in 2018. “We have to continue to show up at shows because it gives us confidence to see other women rap and to show people that we can also do this.”

Perhaps one of the best known Oaxaca rappers Lirika, 34, has established herself as a prominent figure in the genre. But her call to action is just beginning.

“My life context has taught me that I can use my voice,” she told Refinery29. “And maybe that’s a privilege of mine, one I shouldn’t have, but I trust very much what I have to say. I don’t fear what I have to say.”

READ: Latinas Talk About Learning Of The Heartbreaking Colonization Of Indigenous Land And The Genocide Of Its People

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