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Posts Tagged ‘Expo Feria de Queso y Quesillo’

July is the month of the Guelaguetza.  It has its origin in pre-Hispanic corn festivals — a time when maíz seeds were (and continue to be) sown in many of the villages in the valley of Oaxaca and people gathered to exchange seeds and celebrate.  The annual festival was resurrected in 1951 by the city’s leaders to encourage tourism — and it has worked.  Ancillary activities, in the form of fairs, festivals, and cultural presentations have been added over the years to attract and entertain even more domestic and international tourists.

And so, despite the continuing and contentious issues regarding education/labor forms, the show must go on!  Calendas (parades) are already occurring on the city’s streets and banners advertising Guelaguetza events are hanging from street lights on the major calles.  Below is the official Guelaguetza 2016 program of events and a selection of some of the addition activities happening this month.  (Click each poster for a larger and more readable image.)

programa de actividades guelaguetza 2016

guela2016

If you are in Oaxaca, there is no reason to be bored.  ¡Disfruta!  Enjoy!

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Calendas (parades) are already occurring on the city’s streets and banners advertising Guelaguetza events are hanging from street lights on the major calles.  Below are just a handful (or two) of the activities coming up.  (Click each poster for a larger and more readable image.)

For a more complete list, check out this schedule of events from the Secretaría de Turismo y Desarrollo Económico (Ministry of Tourism and Economic Development):

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This post is really just an excuse to post photos of two young women who are presiding over this year’s Guelaguetza activities.  The first is the Reina (queen) of the 4th Expo Feria del Queso y Quesillo.  She is a writer, loves books, and her eyes lit up (even more!) when I told her I was a librarian.  She and her mother were so gracious and radiated joy and warmth.  Alas, I didn’t catch her name; if anyone knows, please post in comments.

Friday evening, the Diosa Centéotl (corn goddess) was chosen to reign over this year’s Guelaguetza.  Jacqueline Reyes Rosario Sarabia, a native of Santo Domingo Tehuantepec, Oaxaca, was selected from 33 participants who represented the 8 regions of the state of Oaxaca in a 2-part competition.  Each entrant was required to make a presentation, in both her native language and in Spanish, about the gastronomy, crafts, dances, legends, traditions, and customs of her village and on the clothing of her region.  Even though we were way in the back, Jacqueline caught our attention with her impassioned speech.  One of the first of her duties was to lead yesterday’s desfile (parade of the Guelaguetza delegations) through the streets of the city of Oaxaca.

I love Jacqueline’s reaction when her name was announced as Diosa Centéotl 2014.

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I’m eating my way through the Guelaguetza festivities.  It all began on Friday with the kickoff banquet for the Festival de los Moles.  Remember the chicatanas from last month?  They were there.  Check out the mole on the middle left.  Giving the mole a little “crunch,” it was muy sabroso!

Then yesterday, we ventured out to Reyes Etla for the Expo Feria del Queso y Quesillo (cheese fair), followed by comida at Comedor Colon in Villa de Etla.

Today, we were supposed to go into the mountains of the Sierra Norte to San Antonio Cuajimoloyas for the Feria Regional de Hongos Silvestres.  Alas, bloqueos blocked our way and so L and I were “forced” to browse (and shop) our way through the countless artesan stalls at the top of the Alcalá and in Llano Park.  Of course, this required major nourishment.  At a time like this, nothing beats street food!

Tacos with roasted onions and chopped pork

Tacos with roasted onions and chopped pork

All I can say is, yummmm!  And, next weekend, we will again attempt to venture up into the mountains for the wild mushrooms festival.

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I’m back in Oaxaca — and I’m not the only one!  The city’s streets and sidewalks are more congested than usual as tourists, both national and international, have begun pouring in.  Why? you ask.  They have come for the annual Guelaguetza folkloric performances the next two Mondays on Cerro Fortin in Oaxaca city.  And, a few might even venture out to join locals at the more intimate Guelaguetzas in many of the villages that surround the city.

There will be food and drink ferias and festivals…

There will be calendas (parades), expo-ventas (artisan sales), and exhibitions…

There will be concerts, including this one by Lila Downs…

lila downs concierto guelaguetza 2014

And, SO much more!  The above posters illustrate just a fraction of the activities surrounding the Lunes del Cerro (Mondays on the hill).  For a more comprehensive, though not by any means complete, list of events, check out the calendar below.

Manteleta Final 43x28

Sheesh, it seems like they add more things to do and see every year.  However, I’m looking forward to showing and sharing as much of it as possible with friends.

Click on each poster for a larger (more readable) image.

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Yesterday, we began the marathon than is Guelaguetza in Oaxaca.  First on the day’s agenda was a morning trip to Reyes Etla.

The Señor de las Peñas church sits atop at hill and views of the lush green fields (gracias, rainy season) and the mountains were breathtaking.

Cactus, farmland, mountains

Impossibly adorable children danced and shared, in the spirit of Guelaguetza.

Boy and girl in traje throwing candy to audience

We were in the heartland of Oaxaca cheese country for the crowning of  Jimena Santiago Vasquez, as queen of the third Expo Feria de Queso y Quesillo.

Girl with crown and red sash

Did I say cheese?  Oh, yes — stalls and stalls of yummy cheese.  The fair runs through Monday and we will be back!

Woman selling cheese

Next on our itinerary was a return to the city for a little (?) gluttony — the Festival de los 7 Moles opening banquet on the grounds of the Jardín Etnobotánico de Oaxaca.  Botanas Oaxaqueña (cheese, chicharrón, chiles rellenos), followed by Sopa de Fandango, 15 (not 7) Moles, 4 Tipos de Arroz, followed by a platter of pastries and scoops of Leche Quemada and Tuna nieves (sorbets).  Oh, and did I mention, cervesas and mezcal?

Lines of serving platters and people

We even got a little culture, as author, Laura Esquivel (Like Water for Chocolate) spoke, though it was a little hard to hear her, with all the eating, drinking, and related conversations!

Profile of Laura Esquivel

Moving rather slowly, we pushed back from the table and headed down to the Alameda (oh, it felt good to walk!) to take in the last stage of the Diosa Centéotl competition — the chosen “Goddess” presides over Guelaguetza.  However, the area surrounding the tented stage was a mass of people by the time we arrived and the best I could do was see the backs of the magnificent traje.  (See Chris’s blog for close-ups from the stage one competition.)  And, the winner is…  Dulce Yanet Grijalba Martínez, from the Zapotec community of San Pablo Villa de Mitla.

Backs of women sitting in traditional dress

After a brief siesta, I rendezvoused with some young friends and we walked over to the Plaza de la Danza for a free performance by Alejandra Robles, one of my favorite Oaxaqueña singers.  (For video from the last time I saw her, click HERE.)

Alejandra Robles

The night was still young for my young friends and they were off to get a nieve at Jardín Socrates.  I was off to bed, because I’d already had my day’s allowance of nieve AND we’ve only just begun!

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