BEFORE dawn on January 4th the mesquite trees around José Reyes Morin’s farm are lit up with Christmas lights. Inside the house, breakfast is eaten by candlelight. Mr Morin, a stickler for the old ways, doesn’t much believe in using electricity at home for anything other than religious occasions.
Appetites sated, a score of cowboys, one young woman and your (less young) correspondent mount scraggy horses. “Viva Cristo Rey,” (“Long Live Christ the King”) shouts Mr Morin, silver-buttoned comandante of the group, as the riders set off on a three-day pilgrimage to the 23-metre (75-foot) statue of Cristo Rey, high on a hill in the very centre of Mexico. That cry could once have got him killed as a Catholic reactionary. Today it is a call to rural traditions of faith and endurance in Mexico’s industrial heartland.