Snail's Postcard Post

¡Cinco de Mayo!

On this day in 1862, Mexico defeated France at La Batalla de Puebla. Winning the battle but losing the war, May Fifth is not a Mexican national holiday. But it is a day of merriment in the state of Puebla, in the capital (Mexico City) and in tourist towns, and a big day for Mexican culture in the United States (however commercialized and skewed, much like St. Patrick’s Day), so I thought I’d share some Mexican postcards.


Mamá Snail sent this to Abuela y Abuelo Snail in 1989 or ’90, when she was pregnant with me!IMG_5538IMG_5540


From this stamp and postmark and the postmark on the front, it seems Mamá Snail mailed the postcard from Mérida, and it was relayed to the post office in the Southern California city of Santa Ana, before reaching Abuela y Abuelo Snail in Los Angeles. IMG_5541IMG_5542

Abuela y Abuelo Snail brought this postcard back from a vacation to Puerta Vallarta with Abuelo Snail’s brother and his family. Abuelo Snail loved to travel (see his postcards from midcentury Hawaii and Micronesia.) Abuela Snail, however, has always been fearful of leaving her familiar Los Angeles and didn’t want to go on the trip…but Tío Babe convinced her. She’d been his girlfriend until he introduced her to his brother, my grandpa. Abuela Snail is headstrong, but Tío Babe always held a certain sway over her. She ended up having a wonderful time in Puerta Vallarta, and was so glad she went because it was the last trip she and Abuelo Snail took together before he passed away. IMG_5543IMG_5544IMG_5545IMG_5546

The ancient Mayan city of Chichen-Itza is of course most famous for the pyramid at the center of these postcards. Although it’s called El Castillo in Spanish, it was not a castle, but an observatory of sorts. At three p.m. on the vernal and autumnal equinoxes, the sun hits the balustrades of the western stairway, giving the effect of a chain of triangles. Visible in the first Chichen-Itza postcard, this lit-up chain runs down to a carved stone serpent’s head at the base of the stairs! This is Kukulkan, the feathered serpent, apparently signaling the time for spring and fall agricultural practices.  

Detail: serpent2image from

In the foreground of the second Chichen-Itza postcard is a Chac Mool, a Toltec-influenced human stone figure, looking out at El Castillo. IMG_4064

By South Los Angeles Chicano painter, Germs (aka Jaime Zacarias).
The luchador is something of a signature in his work.IMG_3148IMG_3634

For more Mexican and Latino cultural postcards, check out the Dia de los Muertos post!







This entry was published on May 5, 2013 at 10:46 pm. It’s filed under Site Specific and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Follow any comments here with the RSS feed for this post.

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