Posts Tagged ‘Baile de Los Viejitos’

Well, actually, they came, they saw, and they set the village straight.


Stay tuned…

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In my last blog post, I mentioned Teotitlán del Valle does not go on Daylight Saving Time.  And, they are not alone!  As the article, Clocks don’t change where sun keeps time, most of Mexico didn’t adopt DST until 1996 and given the autonomy guaranteed to indigenous communities, “70% of the entire indigenous population of Oaxaca” have chosen to follow the sun — the “King of the Sky.”

Ojala, blogger buddy Chris (who doesn’t change his watch to DST either) and I will be returning to Teotitlán del Valle for the final day (into night) of the Baile de Los Viejitos, (the Dance of the Old Men) this time hosted by el quinto (5th) sección.  However, before we go, a few more scenes from Tuesday’s fiesta, put on by the segunda (2nd) sección.Viejito with cane


I say, “ojala, ” because several marches and blockades are currently in progress throughout Oaxaca and on the carreteras into and out of the city.  Alas, the video I shot on Tuesday of the Baile de los Viejitos may be as close as I come to the dancing action until next year.

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2 viejitos, nose to nose

Tête-à-tête between Viejitos (I know, I’m mixing languages), seen between the shoulders of two municipal leaders, on the Municipal Plaza in Teotitlán del Valle during this year’s previously mentioned Carnaval.

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True confession:  I’m not in Oaxaca!  I arrived in the San Francisco Bay Area a week ago for a 3-week visit.  While I love seeing family, friends, “my” mountain (Mt. Tamalpais), and the Pacific Ocean, it also means bone-chilling summer fog, driving instead of walking most everywhere, and the absence of my regular blog fodder — no calendas, ferias, festivals, saints days, bandas, and urban art.  (Though, I will probably head to San Francisco for the latter!)

However, this break-in-the-action gives me time to look back through thousands of photos and create posts that had been put on the back-burner when something bigger, better, or more timely cropped up.

3 viejitos

So, here we go, back to Friday, April 24, 2014 — the last of five days of Carnaval in Teotitlán del Valle.


While there are masks, costumes, men dressed as women, and merriment, this is not your Christian pre-Lenten Fat Tuesday/Mardi Gras Carnival.

Man wearing female mask, wig, and clothing

This is a pre-Hispanic celebration that happens the Monday through Friday after Easter, not before Lent.

Close-up of viejito

Via El Baile de Los Viejitos (the Dance of the Old Men), it brings the community and elected leadership together to remind each of their social contract — in an extremely humorous way.

Young viejito

A procession, gathering participants along the way, leads to the Municipal Plaza, where it seems as if the entire village assembles.

2 elderly women watching Dance of the Old Men

And, of course, the dance and ritual continue late into the night…

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Sometimes color seems like a distraction, so an experiment in de-saturation from the last day of Carnaval in Teotitlán del Valle.

For some outstanding up-close and full color photos, head over to Oaxaca-The Year After.

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Friday we returned for another extraordinary day — the last day of Carnival.

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Again, muchisimas gracias to the gracious and generous people of Teotitlán del Valle.

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I’m playing catch-up with blog posts.  After the Good Friday Procession of Silence, I thought life would slow down a little.  That’s what’s happened in years past — I caught up on the “to do” list on the home-front, leisurely plowed through the hundreds and hundreds of photos from Semana Santa, did a little research and a lot of thinking about what I’d just seen and experienced, and then crafted a few blog posts.

That was before we found out that Teotitlán del Valle celebrates 5-days of Carnival after Easter, not before Lent!  A little levity after the solemnity of Semana Santa and in one of our favorite places was not to be resisted.  And so, blogger buddy Chris and I set out on Monday afternoon in search of the house in Sección 1 (the village is divided into 5 geographic areas) that was hosting the daytime fiesta that precedes the evening festivities in the Municipal Plaza.

We returned yesterday for the Sección 5 fiesta, so more to come.  Now it’s off to Tlacolula for the Nieve, Mezcal y Gastronomia Festival.

FYI:  For a more detailed explanation of this Carnival celebration and photos from last year by a professional photographer, check out Ann Murdy’s website.

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