Nuestra Señora de la Soledad is the patron saint, queen, and mother of Oaxaqueños — and she is my vecina (neighbor). Thus, I shall not want for revelry!
Despite her name, there is no solitude for Soledad or her neighbors on her December 18 feast day — or the days and nights leading up to it. Like her sister December virgin images, Juquila and Guadalupe, she seems to thrive on the cacophony that is fiesta life here — after all they are Mexican Marías.
So, bandas playing traditional music (loudly), fireworks and rockets booming and banging, church bells urgently chiming, and lively recorridos (travels) through the streets of the city, beginning early in the morning and continuing well beyond midnight, are welcomed.
The celebrations began at 5:00 AM on December 7, with a ringing of church bells and a “dawn journey” and culminated with a grand fiesta yesterday, December 18, her feast day. She seemed to enjoy the festivities, including these guys from the Istmo performing for her, *La Danza de los Negros.
Soledad’s fiesta will end tomorrow (Dec. 20) with a concert of Christmas carols at 7:00 PM. It’s been great fun, but I’m already looking forward to Noche de Rabanos on December 23!
*La Danza de los Negros is another of those complex and multilayered dances traditional to specific indigenous cultures in Oaxaca. For more information, check out the article (en español), Los Negros, tradición bixhahui, ícono de Chihuitán.