July 28 – Guelaguetza Festival in Oaxaca

Posted on July 28, 2014

Guelaguetza” means “offering” in the Zapotec language, so today is the second day of the “Offering Festival.” Another name for this Mexican festival is Lunes del Cerro, or “Mondays on the hill.” It is held the last two Mondays of July.

There are parades and dance shows. And of course food. Lots of yummy food.


This festival is sort of a combination of pre-Hispanic celebrations of the corn goddess Centeotl and the Catholic feast day of Our Lady of Mount Carmel. It is a state-wide festival in which people from all over Oaxaca come together and celebrate the diversity of their traditions.

When I think of a handicraft
from Oaxaca, I always think
of this kind of gorgeous
barro negro pottery.
You may think of Mexican culture being one set thing, but just within the state of Oaxaca, there are 16 different ethnic and linguistic (language) groups. They each have traditional clothing, folk dances, and specialized products.
These colorful alebrijes are
made of wood and are very
popular.








Get this: at the end of a group's performance of their own regional dance, the dancers throw items that are particular to their region out into the crowd. That's a nice way of sharing culture with one another!





I think that throwing items out into the crowd must be pretty tough, though. I read that the dance performances are held in a special open-air auditorium that seats 11,000 people and that is located on a hill overlooking Oaxaca. The auditorium was built so that people looking down at the stage can also see a gorgeous view of the city of Oaxaca.... And that means that people throwing items to the crowd have to throw UPwards, into a very large crowd!!


Apparently it is sad to many of the indigenous peoples of the area that the new auditorium means that the once-free, more spontaneous sharing of cultures of the past is more of a tourist attraction that costs money. There is a lot of controversy about the official celebration, and I am wondering if some non-official venues are springing up here and there?


Also on this date:


 








Buffalo Soldiers Day 










Author / illustrator Beatrix Potter's birthday









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