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Posts Tagged ‘calenda’

Day four of B’s Week in Oaxaca had B relying on yours truly for the day’s sights and sounds.  Where to begin?  The answer, because it was near Casita Colibrí and we had just been to Mitla and Monte Albán, was the Museo de Arte Prehispánico de México Rufino Tamayo (Rufino Tamayo Museum of Prehispanic Art).  The collection is spread over five rooms surrounding a courtyard in a 16th century colonial building.  Each room is painted a different iconic Mexican color, chosen by the late Zapotec Oaxaqueño artist Rufino Tamayo, to highlight the pieces of his extraordinary collection.

Next we walked down to and through the iron gates, designed by Francisco Toledo, and across the brick pathway of the Centro Cultural San Pablo (Cultural Center of San Pablo).  We explored the interior rooms of this ex-convent, now an academic research and cultural center, that hosts concerts, lectures, exhibitions, and houses a library.  Pausing to rest, we took advantage of the cafe in the courtyard to order a couple of aguas.

Our thirst quenched, we walked around the corner to the Museo Textil de Oaxaca (Textile Museum of Oaxaca) to explore the ground floor and upstairs exhibitions of one of this textile lover’s favorite museums.  One of the exhibits was the stunning “Almas bordadas, vestido y ornamento en el Istmo de Tehuantepec” — displaying the iconic embroidered clothing of the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.  (Think, the dress of Frida Kahlo.)

Forty-five minutes later, we were certifiably hungry and, lucky for us, Origen, restaurant of Top Chef Mexico 2016 winner, Rodolfo Castellanos, and one of my oft recommended restaurants in Oaxaca, was only a block away.  As always, its relaxing interior, attentive service, and delicious food provided a perfect respite.

Once rested and satiated, it felt good to set feet to pavement for the short walk to the Catedral Metropolitana de Nuestra Señora de la Asunción (Cathedral of Our Lady of the Assumption).  The cathedral towers over the zocaló and the Alameda.  The construction of this green cantera (stone) edifice began in 1535 and was consecrated on July 12, 1733.  It is dominated by a spectacular altar and lined, on both sides, with chapels — the most important being that of Señor del Rayo.  In addition, it is home to one of the historic pipe organs of Oaxaca.

After being wowed by the Cathedral’s soaring ceiling, altar, art, chapels, and organ, we crossed Independencia for a taste of the modern — the Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños (Museum of Oaxacan Painters).  This, often overlooked, two-story restored colonial era mansion showcases the creativity and talent of Oaxaca’s painters.  I had been to the museum only a month before, but the exhibitions are ever-changing, and new artists were on display.

Of course, no day in Oaxaca is complete without a parade and we were not disappointed.  We departed the Museo de los Pintores Oaxaqueños to be greeted with a calenda (parade) by “Ranchu Gubiña” from Union Hidalgo in the Isthmus of Tehuantepec region — attired in clothing similar to that which we had seen earlier in the day at the textile museum.  We had come full circle!

Another long day’s journey into evening….  However, we weren’t finished yet; two more days await!

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Another day, another parade.  Today, the Gran Calenda del Mercado de Abastos (parade of the markets) passed within a block and a half of Casita Colibrí.  I couldn’t miss it — the cacophony of multiple bands, cohetes (rockets), and honking horns announced its arrival in my ‘hood!  In the words of Octavio Paz, from The Labyrinth of Solitude

“The solitary Mexican loves fiestas and public gatherings.”

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“The art of the fiesta has been debased almost everywhere else, but not in Mexico.”

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“Our poverty can be measured by the frequency and luxuriousness of our holidays.”

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“Do they forget themselves and show their true faces?  Nobody knows.  The important thing is to go out, open a way, get drunk on noise, people, colors.”

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“In the confusion that it generates, society is dissolved, is drowned, insofar as it is an organism ruled according to certain laws and principles.”

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“Everything is united: good and evil, day and night, the sacred and the profane.  Everything merges, loses shape and individuality and returns to the primordial mass.”

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“The fiesta is a cosmic experiment, an experiment in disorder, reuniting contradictory elements and principles in order to bring about a renascence of life.”

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Orgullo is the Spanish word for pride and you hear it a lot in Oaxaca.  But, rather than just the personal, it encompasses the dignity, honor, and respect felt for one’s community’s history and cultural heritage.  Remember, there are 16 indigenous groups in the state of Oaxaca – each with its own language, dress, culinary traditions, music and dance, celebrations, and crafts.  While the modern Guelaguetza is an invention to attract tourism, it doesn’t detract from the pride expressed by its participants in their unique contributions to what makes Oaxaca.  Thus, a few scenes from Friday…

Fresh handmade tortillas accompanied the mole at the Festival de los Moles luncheon. Chefs from all over the state, presented their moles — I lost count at twenty different kinds — which were served by culinary students from the Universidad Tecnológica de los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca.

 

Diosa Centéotl (Corn Goddess) competition to reign over the Guelaguetza.  Young women representing the regions of Oaxaca showcased and explained the costumes and traditions of their communities, as well as, speak a few lines of their materna lengua (mother tongue).

 

Calenda (procession) on the Alcalá by people from the Gulf of Tehuantepec region.  They were heading toward Santo Domingo — and yes there were a few Muxes among the participants.

 

During Guelaguetza, orgullo wraps you in its presence.

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Yesterday, we slowly but surely wound our way around a major blockade and made our way 20 miles southeast of the city to Tlacolula de Matamoros.  The reason for our tenacity?  Their calenda (parade) in honor of la Virgen del Rosario (Virgin of the Rosary) was happening.  A major feature, not to mention highlight, of Tlacolula festivals are the marmotas.IMG_9781

Little boys begin by carrying little marmotas; big boys carry big marmotas; and men carry gigantic marmotas.  As for the latter, the guys definitely must rely on a little help from their friends.

IMG_9824Time for change of shift…

IMG_9825New guy is helped into position.

IMG_9827That didn’t last long…

IMG_9829Time for another shift change.

IMG_9833All right!!!

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It was all about the braids as the delegations and storm clouds gathered along Independencia for the Guelaguetza desfile (parade).

P1110451P1110452P1110481P1110485P1110505The heavens opened, umbrellas unfolded, rain ponchos were donned, and cover was sought by spectators and delegations, alike. But, stay tuned, the show DID go on!

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Walking down the Alcalá… on the way home late yesterday afternoon… sounds of a band… I look up towards Santo Domingo… and see a calenda coming down the street.

Universidad La Salle Oaxaca on parade.  Reason # 552 why I love living here!

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Waiting is a way of life down here and we all do it in our own way.  Right now Oaxaca is waiting for Tropical Storm Ernesto to “break on through to the other side.”  These guys were waiting to “get in step,” before the parade passes by.

Two men leaning against a wall

Two guys wearing red bandanas  on their head in foreground and crowd in background

Guy wearing costume leaning against wall

A peso for his thoughts…

(Mixing The Doors and Barbra Streisand lyrics — what was I thinking???)

 

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And, then there was the Festival de los 7 Moles opening buffet lunch set amidst the beauty and tranquility of the Jardín Etnobotánico.  Serendipity and synchronicity brought us there… running into a friend, conversation, investigation (see pots below), and her enthusiasm and powers of persuasion (gracias, Rosa!) had us purchasing tickets on the spot.

While kitchen staff prepared the serving platters and bowls…

Woman in apron and wearing hairnet, scoops cooked rice out of a large bucket.

Dancers gathered on the Alameda for a calenda that would lead people the luncheon.

Two women displaying their long  colorful full skirts

They included a number of small children…

Woman squatting down and clasping hands with a toddler-age boy - both in indigenous dress

The calenda, including the requisite marmota (giant cloth balloon), monos (giant puppets), band, dancers with canastas (see yesterday’s post), and the sponsoring banner of CANIRAC (national association of the restaurant and food industries), made its way up the Alcalá…

Procession with marmota, monos, and banner

before turning onto Constitución and entering the Jardín, where wait staff and divine moles awaited.

Wait staff, wearing black, white, and grey gathered next to table.

Yummm, mole negro

Large green pottery bowls filled with black mole.

Mole amarillo

Green pottery bowls of red colored moles

Mole coloradito

Green ceramic pot with red mole.

Mole verde

Green mole in green ceramic pot

There was also mole chichilo, mole manchamanteles, and mole rojo.  I tried them all!!!  And, I haven’t even mentioned the cervesa, mezcal, aguas, and appetizers of quesillo, chicharon, and tacos filled with guacamole and chapulines (grasshoppers).  You’ll have to switch over to Chris’s blog to see those and much more.  Oh, and for dessert, a scoop of each of my favorite nieves (sherbet); leche quemada (burned milk) and tuna (cactus fruit).

A day filled with light, color, music, fabulous food, and, most of all, wonderful friends — the recipe for a perfect day!

(ps)  There are almost 50 restaurants around town that will be featuring mole as part of this 12-day festival.

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Friday was a delightful day… a late morning and early afternoon spent in leisurely conversation with one of my closest friends over desayuno at Cocina Economica Isabel, a stop at the Merced mercado to pick up some pan dulce, and a stroll through the Zócalo, before returning home.  I envisioned a late afternoon and evening of visiting with my neighbor before she is heads north for a USA visit, catching up on email, and watching a movie.  Perfection, I thought!  Who could ask for more?

“More” came via my email inbox; notice of the 10th Guelaguetza Infantil, with a calenda (parade) from Santo Domingo de Guzmán to the Zócalo beginning at 6 PM.  This definitely called for a change of plans!  And, sure enough, as I got closer to Santo Domingo, there they were; delegations of children representing the regions of Oaxaca.

Girl and boy in costume of the Istmo.

Istmo de Tehuantepec couple (a young Frida Kahlo, perhaps?) posing for photos.

Girl in Istmo costume covering her ears

There were several bands playing and it got a little too loud for this girl from the Istmo.

Girl in Tuxtepec costume holding basket of candy.

However this girl, representing the Papaloapan, didn’t seem to mind and was ready to toss candy to the crowd. She wasn’t alone — once the calenda started, candy began flying fast and furious and the pockets of the kids watching on the sidelines began bulging!

Girl wearing a costume from the Costa regionGirls from the Costa region received last-minute instructions.

Boys in white shirts and straw cowboy hats holding school banner reading "Cervantes"

Costa boys were charged with holding up their school banner.

Close up of girls in the costumes from Tuxtepec

The girls representing the Papaloapan clutched plastic pineapples, ready for the always popular Flor de Piña dance from Tuxtepec.

2 girls standing together; one in Istmo costume and one in Tuxtepec costume

A little cross cultural comparing of notes (actually, cell phone games) was happening between the Istmo and Papaloapan.

Girl in Mixteca costume dancing.

All the while, the dancers from the Mixteca danced their way down the Álcala.

Closeup of boy with Danza de la Pluma head dress.

And, the young Danza de la Pluma danzantes, representing the Valles Centrales, carefully balanced their penachos (headdresses).

Tonight at 5 pm, these 300 kids from 52 preschools, will perform traditional regional dances in the auditorium of the Universidad Regional del Sureste, Rosario campus in San Sebastián Tutla.

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… and it never gets old, at least not for me!  Thus yesterday, returning from picking up a newly repaired sandal at the zapatero (shoemaker), a parade along the Alcalá had me happily stopping.

Women in embroidered black velvet costumes and wearing white lace head pieces arm in arm with men in black pants, white shirts, red neck kerchief and carrying a sombrero

Judging by the traje (costume), what is popularly known north of the border as Frida Kahlo style clothing, the elaborate multicolored embroidery on black velvet and the signature starched white lace head pieces, immediately said the Isthmus region of Oaxaca, the area along the Gulf of Tehuantepec.

A banda led off the procession with, of course, the requisite tuba.

Man carrying a shiny brass tuba

A marlin out-of-water  followed the band.  Actually, a friend and I had a discussion about what kind of fish it was.  Marlin (blue and black), sailfish, and swordfish are found in the waters of the Gulf of Tehuantepec.  After looking at this website, I’m thinking this guy is a marlin, but who knows???

Man carrying a large grey marlin on his head

Once home and photos downloaded, the detective work began; trying to figure out what this was all about.   Putting together the information I could glean from the banners and a little research, I think this was a parade by people from San Blas Atempa celebrating a traditional fiesta titular.

Woman carrying banner, surrounded by women in bright pink skirs and black emboidered huipiles.

Naturally, there weren’t just beautifully dressed adults.  Adorable little boys…

Little boy wearing black pants, white shirt, red neck kerchief, and sombrero

and girls kept up the pace on this bright sunny 80+ degree day.

Little girl in full embroidered black velvet attiren and including white lace headpiece, looking at the camera.

I wasn’t the only one watching… Alejandro Santiago’s growing army of Migrantes stood transfixed.  (Well, actually they are literally affixed to the sidewalks and streets with some sort of gooey glue.)

Tejuana women carrying banner, as they pass Migrante sculptures lining the street.

Just another day and another parade in paradise!

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After all the waiting, the calenda (parade) of the Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo began winding its way from the church courtyard down the narrow streets of Teotitlán del Valle and back up to the courtyard.

Arms raised, the unmarried young women of the village carried these bamboo-framed canastas floreadas above their heads for the entire route.

And, naturally there was a band… with the requisite tuba!

This Subalterno (one of two who keep their eyes on the festivities) kept the procession moving along…

including the young Soldaditos of Hernan Cortes.

They were followed by the Danzantes de Promesa (note the other Subalterno to the far right)…

and bringing up the rear, Moctezuma with the dual personalities of the same woman, La Malinche and Doña Marina.

In this village, known for its weaving, a complex tapestry of religious ritual, historic legend, and tangled mythology has been woven together to celebrate community and identity.

Definitely worth the wait… AND there’s more to come!

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