In Mexico, as well as other Spanish speaking countries the saints have a significant place in peoples’ daily lives. Many people celebrate their saint’s day as much or more than they celebrate their birthday. Churches celebrate saints’ days too. On the feast day of a church that is dedicated to a particular saint they will start early in the morning before sunrise and shoot off rockets to announce to the parishioners that the feast day has begun. There are special masses and usually a procession where they carry a statue of the saint through the neighborhood preceded by young men setting off rockets that make a big BOOM when they reach an altitude of a hundred feet or so and they tend to shoot off a lot of them.. Rockets are a big thing in Mexico. They accompany just about every kind of religious celebration. The biggest expenditure of rockets is on October 4th which is the feast day of Saint Francis of Assisi. There are over 200 parishes dedicated to St. Francis scattered throughout Mexico so he is one saint who requires a lot of gunpowder. Some saints even lend themselves to nicknames. For example, the Spanish nickname for José is Pepe. Supposedly, the name Pepe comes from the practice of labeling San José, the father of Jesús Cristo, as "San José P.P." to differentiate him from other saints named José. The letters "P.P." stand for "Padre Putativo" or in other words "regarded as the stand-in father figure for Jesus". The letter “P” is pronounced like “Peh” in Spanish and hence the nickname “Peh-Peh” or Pepe.
If you really want to be appreciated find out the saints' days of your Spanish speaking friends and acknowledge it with a phone call or a card or a little gift. You will be amazed at how much they will appreciate this gesture. You can find out all about the saints’ days in your handy “Calendario Del Más Antiguo Galván” which is an almanac that has been published in Mexico continuously without interruption since 1826. I buy a new one every year. After all, you can’t know the players without a program. According to my Galvan, the Saints for today are:
Saint Stephen V. (Pope)
Saint Silvino (Bishop)
Saints Guido & Macedonio (Martyrs)
Patriarchs Tobias (Padre) & Tobias the younger
Saint Sara, wife of Saint Tobias the younger
Blessed Maria Victoria Formari
Feast of the Holy Name of Mary
It also mentions that there is a new moon. How about that!