If it’s the end of January into the beginning of February, it must be time for the Feria del Carrizo in San Juan Guelavía. About twenty minutes east of the city, this village was known for their beautiful and functional baskets hand-woven from carrizo (Arundo donax, Spanish cane, Giant cane, Wild Cane, and Colorado River weed), a tall perennial cane that grows along river banks.
These baskets have traditionally been used as carriers and storage bins since before the Spanish set foot on the soil that became Mexico. However, their popularity and demand took a nosedive, along with the economy of San Juan Guelavía, upon the arrival of plastic baskets. The answer, in 2012, was to promote these artisans, their wares, and their creativity with a fair. Several days preceding Sunday’s inauguration of the 6th annual fair and sale, there were misas (masses), parades, and fireworks.
As with all festivals and fairs in Oaxaca, there are folkloric dance performances.
The fair was in full swing when we arrived in late morning (note to self, get there earlier next year) with carrizo woven baskets, birdcages, bottles, and baby cradles piled high.So many choices… Is it too early to begin Christmas shopping?I kept my eye out for Teresa, who made beautiful lampshades for me two years ago. However, it wasn’t easy as there were so many people coming and going and crowded around all of the vendor tables.
It took a while but, on the second pass around, I finally found her and her delightful family. There was much handshaking, cheek kissing, and catching up.And, more than a little laughter about her fowl friend, who was keeping watch under the table.
Another wonderful, warm, and welcoming day in one of the villages in the valley of Oaxaca. The fair continues this week with a 4-day jaripeo (rodeo) and closes on February 5, so you still have time! Never fear, if you miss it, these carrizo treasures can often be found at the weekly Sunday market in Tlacolula de Matamoros.