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Día de Carnaval (aka, Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Carnival) in Oaxaca is muy especial — especially in the village of San Martín Tilcajete. The Spanish brought the tradition to Mexico and, like may other seasonal celebrations, it conveniently coincided with indigenous festivals celebrating the “lost days” of the Mesoamerican calendar, “when faces were […]

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If you live in Oaxaca, the characters of Carnaval are coming to a village near you. And to get you in the mood and entice you to one of the wild and whacky celebrations, the citizens of the city were treated to a parade sampling the various traditions — no two villages are the same. […]

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Scenes from the streets of San Martín Tilcajete during yesterday’s Carnaval craziness. “Color is descriptive. Black and white is interpretive.” – Eliott Erwitt

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Given that Oaxaca loves parades and processions (the numbers of Muertos comparsas and Guelaguetza desfiles seem to grow every year), yesterday the 1st Muestra de Carnavales de los Valles Centrales took over the Macedonio Alcalá walking street with costumes, devils, painted bodies, cowbells, bands, masked men, mezcal, and more. In an effort to promote tourism […]

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Día de Carnaval (aka, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Carnival), a day to let the good times roll before the sacrifices of the Lenten season, has come and gone.  And, again, blogger buddy Chris and I headed out to the surreal celebration in San Martín Tilcajete.  Driving into the village, one soon hears, rather than sees, […]

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Besides a mock wedding with men dressed as women, mentioned in my previous post, Carnaval (Carnival, Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, Shrove Tuesday) in San Martín Tilcajete also means young men covered in motor oil (yuck!) and paint running through the village with belts of cowbells ringing. And, it means muchas máscaras de madera — in […]

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Among other highlights, Carnaval/Carnival in San Martín Tilcajete features a mock wedding, quinceañera, and beautiful fabulously dressed and accessorized “women.” The day before Lent in San Martín Tilcajete 2017.  As they say in New Orleans, “Laissez les bons temps rouler!” Save Save Save Save

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A jester comes to San Martín Tilcajete… The Maladjusted Jester by Danny Kaye Your majesty, I have a confession My secret I must now betray I was not a born fool It took work to get this way When I was a lad I was gloomy and sad And I was from the day I […]

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Another day… another celebration… another adventure!  Yesterday was Día de Carnaval (aka, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Carnival), a day to let the good times roll before the sacrifices of the Lenten season. As you have probably surmised, the Spanish brought the tradition to Mexico.  Like many other seasonal celebrations, it conveniently coincided with indigenous festivals […]

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If all was right with the world, on this Día de Carnaval (aka, Carnival, Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday), the day before Christians celebrate the beginning of Lent, I would be in San Martín Tilcajete — where the streets would be alive with the sound of bells, as los encabezados (guys covered in motor […]

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Congratulations to Coco — winner of the 2018 Academy Award for Original Song, “Remember Me” (“Recuérdame”), and winner for best Animated Feature Film.  Most of all, felicidades to all the bisabuelas (great-grandmothers) and abuelitas (grandmothers) who inspired the character of Coco with their strength, pride, and love. And, bravo to Guillermo del Toro (Best Director) […]

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Fathers of Oaxaca playing a leading role in introducing the next generation to the music, dance, and respect for the traditions of Oaxaca… Happy Father’s Day to all the loving fathers (biological and adoptive), stepfathers, grandfathers, godfathers, and father figures everywhere, may you continue to do what you do. ¡Feliz Día del Padre!

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Fat Tuesday (aka, Shrove Tuesday and Mardi Gras), the day before the 6+ weeks of Lent begins, means Carnaval in scattered parts of Mexico.  I was supposed to be spending it on the Costa Chica — where Spanish Catholicism meets Mixtec meets Amuzgo meets Chatino meets Chontal meets Zapotec meets Afro-Mexicano — a region with […]

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A friend (who shall remain anonymous) was persuaded to model the mask I gave one of my sons for Christmas. It is the work of Apolinar Sosa, the son of distinguished carver Jesus Sosa Calvo and Juana Vicente Ortega Fuentes of San Martín Tilcajete. This mask won a prize and had actually been worn during […]

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It’s been one year since the passing of maestro Arnulfo Mendoza Ruíz. To honor his life, an exhibit of works by his friends, colleagues, and family was inaugurated at La Mano Mágica on March 13, 2015. His older son, Gabriel Mendoza Gagnier, curated this amazing collection of paintings, weaving, and artesanía. Assisted by Arnulfo’s companion, […]

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