Saturday, July 24, 2010


Have you ever heard music that made you so nostalgic? This week, I had that experience when I heard music from one of Mexico's most special celebrations. On two Mondays in July, Oaxaca celebrates by presenting a series of typical dances from the seven different regions of the state. These beautiful and varied dances take place at the Guelaguetza Auditorium located on a gorgeous hilltop that offers visitors an incredible view of the city. The presentation lasts for several hours. Many different indigenous groups are represented in this display.

The word Guelaguezta comes from the Zapotec language and has a meaning that loosely translates to "mutual giving of gifts." For some delegations, the trip to the capital city of Oaxaca is a long, difficult, and expensive journey. The dancers diligently prepare for the annual event. After each group's presentation, the dancers bring gifts to special guests in the audience that are representative of their region. Some of the more interesting items have included a live turkey or a traditional dress. Other members of the group throw things to the general audience. It's a thrill to catch one of these items like small pieces of fruit, nuts, artesania, hats, or maybe if you're lucky, a pineapple!

The sun is pretty intense during the event and there is no shade. The temperature is not particularly hot and is not humid at all, but the sun is so strong. I got the worst sunburn of my life the first time I went to Guelaguetza. The next year, I wore a long sleeved tunic and my trusty straw hat and was fine. If you go, you'll definetely need a hat for the day. There's even one dance where the audience "dances" with their hats. So much fun. If you're lucky enough to sit in the Governor's section, you'll get a complimentary hat (and some mezcal, food, ice cream and other goodies.)

This video shows one of the most famous and well loved dances from the Guelaguetza. The Flor de Pina, or pineapple flower, dance is from Tuxtepec, a warm, tropical city in Oaxaca. What do you think of the Mexican rockettes?

If you are looking for a unique and authentic Mexican experience, I highly recommend a trip to Oaxaca, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It's a trip you'll never forget.


P.S. I found out that today is National Tequila Day from Kim. What a fun holiday! Here's a funny thought for you. If people "forget" how to drive and go nuts every time it rains or snows 1 inch, what if the precipitation were Tequila!?!?

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  1. Bethany, I can always tell how much you love Mexico. You write with such emotion and it's almost like being there. What a lovely celebration, I'm just not sure about having a pineapple thrown at me! ;-) BTW, could we have coordinatd our posts better if we had tried?!

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