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natural indigenous quita mazatlan 600pxBy Colleen Hook, Executive Director, Quinta Mazatlán

Amazing things happen in nature in the wintertime, and everyone senses that change is coming. Many cultures around the world have winter festivals that involve celebrations of light, including Christmas with tree lights, Hanukkah with the nine-branched Menorah, Kwanzaa with the seven-candle Kinara, Las Posadas with children lighting the way with candles, and many more.


Winter marks the coldest time of the year, but it’s also the warmest time of the year with cultural traditions, storytelling, food and gifts. Many have also passed down traditions of giving back to the natural world—Mother Earth. Perhaps this year, plan on planting seeds or a tree to connect the family to nature and all the things that matter most to us. natural migrating storks

Winter is a time of feeding the spirit, feeding people, feeding wildlife and feeding the Earth. Regardless of our spiritual or cultural heritage, we all live on the same Earth. Plant seeds this year for a simpler and more natural holiday season and consider a birdfeeder to help our feathered friends.

A quote from a Native American Elder: “Honor the sacred. Honor the Earth. Our Mother. Honor the Elders. Honor all with whom we share the Earth: Four-leggeds, two-leggeds, winged ones, swimmers, crawlers, plant and rock people. Walk in balance and beauty.”

Particularly this year, as we are advised to avoid indoor groups of people, the opportunity to enjoy Nature is a welcome call. The amazingly temperate climate of the Rio Grande Valley is a welcome blessing as we experience our mild winter.

Take a walk in the woods at Quinta Mazatlán in McAllen and enjoy Illumina Fest from December 16th to the 19th. Illumina Fest is presented by SpawGlass and advance timed tickets are required at www.ticketleap.com, search for Quinta Mazatlán, $5 per person with two and under free.

Guests are asked to keep in small groups, wear masks and practice social distancing. Upon completing the luminaria trail, families will leave the park in order to allow for the next group of visitors.

Enjoy the light of the world this natural holiday season.

Photo 1: Over 30 Art Installations along the trails at Quinta Mazatlán celebrate the light of the world including bronze and natural sculptures.

Photo 2: Termed the eighth wonder of the world, Israel’s 500 million migratory birds are represented at Illumina Fest with White Stork sculptures visiting the holy land.