So you’re visiting a little hotel in the center of Oaxaca – the last 2 Mondays in July – los lunes del cerro (the Monday’s of the Hill), for one of the annual performances in the Guelaguetza auditorium on the Cerro Fortin, just above Hotel Azucenas).
The Guelaguetza celebration dates back long before the arrival of the Spanish and remains a defining characteristic of Oaxacan culture. Its origins and traditions come from prehispanic earth-based religious celebrations related to the worship of corn and the corn god. In contemporary Oaxaca, indigenous communities from within the state gather at the Guelaguetza to present their native culture, mainly in the form of music, costumes, dances, and food. It is the most famous indigenous gathering of its kind in Mexico. (Wikipedia).
In the late 1990’s, when I was first restoring the old house that has become Hotel Azucenas, we lined up at 5 am in front of the same auditorium…along with a LOOONNGG line of others…to get some of the free seats that were provided. No roof, full sun of July, and the performance didn’t start til noon (??)…but by then you knew everyone around you in the lineup. Who eventually became everyone around you in the seats. Hard wooden benches (so pillows for sale;, blazing sun (hats for sale; you never bought enough to eat (so LOTS of food and drink for sale). The dancing was fabulous, but the people around us were almost better…
This year tickets will go on sale SOMETIME in July for seats in the Guelaguetza Auditorium.
Lila Downs invites you to the Guelaguetza:
This Spanish website will tell you lots:
Lately there has also been resurgence in interest in more traditional looking village Guelaguetzas:
Village of San Antonio Castillo Velasco – off Hwy 175, on the right hand side when heading south, just before the town of Ocotlan – about 45 minutes from the city of Oaxaca
July 22 & 29, 2013 – 4 pm – in the Rotunda de las Azucenas
This is second most attended guelaguetza in the state of Oaxaca.
Villa de Zaachila – July 29, 2013 – 2 pm – in the archeological zone
And If You Don’t Have Time to Make it to Oaxaca this Year:
5th annual Poughkeepsie (NY, USA) festival of Oaxacan culture, music, dance and food.
When: Sun., Aug. 4, 2 p.m., 2013
The local festival replicates the world-famous cultural celebration that takes place annually in Oaxaca, Mexico. Organized by the area’s Oaxacan community and other community cultural organizations.
Main Street at the Hudson River Poughkeepsie
Photos thanks to: Swirling Dancer: http://one1shot.files.wordpress.com/2012/08/img_8058.jpg; http://www.oaxaca.gob.mx/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/OctavaGuelaguetzaZaachilaLunes30-83.jpg; http://www.hotelazucenas.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/07/guelaguetza-2012-san-antonino-castillo-velasco-12-223×300.jpg
Our next blog will feature the villages and hiking trails of the Pueblos Mancomunados in the Sierra Juarez north of Oaxaca.