Posts Tagged ‘Llano Park’

They came, they saw, they styled, and they carried flowers!  This past Friday, it was the turn of Prepatoria No. 6 to continue the “only in Oaxaca tradition” of Viernes del Llano — aka, Paseo Juárez el Llano or Paseo de los Viernes de Cuaresma.

For the first five Friday mornings of Lent, young women in their second, fourth, and sixth semesters at the prepatorias (grades 10-12 in the USA) of the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UABJO), circle the statue of Benito Juárez in Llano Park, collecting bouquets of flowers, in this 45-year old tradition that traces its origin back to the nineteenth century — some say, even further.

There seemed to be a record number of young women this week — at least 30 — being cheered on by their families and home room supporters and ably assisted by their male flower-carriers.

Yes, there are winners in various categories (I think, largest number of flowers collected, most photogenic, best social media, and one or two others) and an overall “Madrina del Viernes” (Godmother of Friday) is chosen.  However, all seem to leave in great spirits — and blogger buddy Chris has even spotted a few down at the local salón de billar shooting a little pool later in the morning.

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From top to bottom, Guelaguetza preparations are in full swing.  There is yet another attempt in the Never-ending tale of a velaria, as workers scramble hundreds of feet in the air to add the missing “wings” to the Guelaguetza Auditorium canopy.

Guelaguetza Auditorium velaria

Workmen are prepping buildings in the Historic District for fresh coats of paint.


Construction is underway in Llano Park (aka, Paseo Juárez “El Llano”) to ready it for the XIX Feria Internacional del Mezcal 2016.


Near the top of Macedonio Alcalá (aka, Andador Turístico), puestos (booths) have been erected for artisans, invited from throughout the state, to display and (hopefully) sell their wares.


And, everyone is holding their breath and making offerings to the gods overseeing phase two of the García Vigil pedestrian walkway that the work will be completed before the first Guelaguetza desfile (parade of delegations) on July 23.


And, me?  I just bought tickets to the Mole Festival degustación at the Jardín Etnobotánico on July 22!  Yummm…


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Friday morning I returned to Llano Park for this year’s fifth and final Viernes del Llano, an only in Oaxaca Lenten tradition sponsored by the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca.  A few weeks ago, when I arrived at 8:30 AM, the crowds were already four deep and, initially, I couldn’t get anywhere close to the action.  Not wanting a repeat, this week I got there at 8:00 AM to discover not many people and preparations just beginning.  Looking for something to find, I came across Litzy, one of the 18 contestants having her makeup applied.


Like most of the young women, Litzy wasn’t alone.  A team of industrious and enthusiastic supporters were there before, during, and after to help, wave banners and balloons, and cheer as she passed by.




Like the other contestants, she was presented with bouquets upon bouquets of flowers — way too many for one person to carry.  Thus, a team of her admirers was required to follow along to assist.IMG_0755



The time came for the winners to be announced:  Five young women were recognized for their efforts and dedication, two for their truncheon(?) and organization of their groups, another for her eloquence, and another was named Miss Photogenic.  But, what about Litzy?  The suspense continued to build as the announcer spoke and paused and spoke and paused and then the name, Litzy Guadalupe González Montes was announced as the Madrina del Quinto Viernes del Llano!P1170423


Felicidades to a lovely and very gracious young woman.  It was a pleasure to briefly tag along on her journey.

(ps)  Chris has more photos from this week at Viernes del Llano – Beauty abounds.


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Viernes del Llano, where young hip Oaxaqueños and flowers, music, and tradition meet.

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The five Friday mornings following Ash Wednesday, Llano Park is the place to be.  For early risers, only — by 9:30 AM, it’s all over but the clean-up.

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Fridays during Lent must mean the “only in Oaxaca,” Paseos Florales del Llano or Viernes del Llano, the Friday pageant through Llano Park by young female preparatoria (high school) students and their spear, oops, I mean flower, carriers.

Some will teeter on spiky heels (tacones, en español); others will opt for the less sexy, safer, maybe even edgy, and definitely more comfortable “flats” look.

According to this article, there was a tradition in Oaxaca to pay homage to women — to honor them for the important role they play in the support of the family.  The ritual died out, but was resurrected in the seventies by the Universidad Autónoma Benito Juárez de Oaxaca (UABJO) to recover religious and family values.  And so, for five Friday mornings during Lent, action in Oaxaca centers in Llano Park.  Along with the young women, there will be fans…

and bands…

Monos and clowns.

But the stars of the show are the young women; this Friday from Preparatoria 6.  They ranged from the natural to the glamorous.

There are winners — I think based on the number of flowers they collect from their friends, families, and fans.  However, in what seems to be a popularity contest, there is joy and sisterhood expressed by all; that is where their beauty shines through.

If you are in Oaxaca, or will be in Oaxaca in the next few weeks, check it out for yourself.

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Please note, the early start!  I arrived around 8:15 AM and, unlike previous years, couldn’t get close to the paseo.  Chris at Oaxaca-The Year After rolled in at 9 AM and it was all over but the posing, departures, and detritus.

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The day before I went up to Mexico City last month, crossing Llano Park, I came across a newly installed waste container encouraging plastic recycling; courtesy of Tierra Sana, a company promoting and selling environmentally friendly products.

Waste basket made from plastic bottles with a Tierra Sana sign on top

These baskets have cropped up in other parts of the city — this one in the plazuela next to Carmen Alto church.  Please know, the trees will cry if you don’t recycle.

Plastic bottle recycling bin with graffiti drawing of a tree crying in the background.

Once up in Mexico City, I noticed Occupy Coyoacán practiced recycling.

Overflowing recycling bags lined up along bandstand.

And then, we were all brought up short by this electric car…

Silver Nissan electric car getting charged at charging station in the street.

These charging stations are not far from the Templo Mayor; an appropriate juxtaposition, I think.  Automobile pollution can’t be good for the Great Temple.

GE charging station

Then there is bike-sharing — 1200 bikes at 90 Ecobici bike stations in Mexico’s capital city.

Red Ecobici bicycles lined up on bike rack.

For more on Mexico City’s Green Plan, check out 10 Highlights of Mexico City’s Climate Action Program.

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… and for everything good, you also should.”  — old Oaxaca saying.

Today, the XIV Feria Nacional del Mezcal opens in el Paseo Juárez el Llano.  Preparations were in full swing yesterday afternoon, when I walked passed Llano Park (as it is more commonly known).

Behind the back of Benito Juárez, carpenters were busy.

Carpenters building a booth in Llano Park next to statue of Benito Juárez

Newly constructed puestos lined the sidewalk on Pino Suarez, waiting to be filled with vendors and displays…

Empty booths along sidewalk
… and hearts of the maguey  (called piñas, because they look like pineapples) were piling up all around the park.

Pile of hearts of the maguey

For more information about mezcal, including how it differs from tequila, see:

In the meantime… “¡Arriba, abajo, al centro y pa’ dentro!”

Update:  Posters, website, and other publicity to the contrary, the feria did not begin today.   Mañana is the word!

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Today in Oaxaca…

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As Irving Berlin wrote, “Nothin’ but blue skies do I see.”

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