Posts Tagged ‘penachos’

Sunday, August 18, 2019, Teotitlán del Valle celebrated the first anniversary of their Centro Cultural Comunitario de Teotitlán del Valle (CCCTV). During the day-long event, not only was there food and music, the village also celebrated passing on of their cultural riches and traditions to upcoming generations.

The Cultural Center’s, Danza de la Pluma Infantil (youth Danza de la Pluma group) donned their costumes, gathered on the Municipal Plaza, and performed dances from this ritual retelling of the Conquest. (Check out the up close and personal photos by blogger buddy Chris.)

In the CCCTV, there was an exhibition of penachos/coronas (headdresses) used in the Danza de la Pluma that were crafted in a workshop by young people from the village.

“BaáGuiish” by Laura Ruiz Mendoza. Representing the four cardinal points to give thanks for each new day.


Detail of “Shia guibaa” by Jesús Brayan Jiménez Lazo.


“La cruz de Quetzalcóatl” by Juan Mendoza Bautista.

In addition, there was also an exhibition of tapetes (rugs) designed and woven by the young people of Teotitlán del Valle.

“El alma en manos de mi arte” by Omar Mendoza Martínez.


“Futuro Hermoso” by Constantino Lazo Martínez.


“Huitzilopochtli” by Anais Adelina Ruiz Martínez.


“Bineéty xunuax Xigie’ (Mujer Zapoteca) woven image of his grandmother by Mario González Pérez.

Celebrating and preserving the cultural riches of the Zapotec community of Teotitlán del Valle. Can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday. Dixeebe! Zapotec for ¡salud! cheers!

Read Full Post »

Reason number 579 why I love Oaxaca…

Today was the first day of a way-too-short first time visit to Oaxaca by a couple of California gal pals — an orientation walk through El Centro was the order of the day.  And what did we stumble upon in front of the Government Palace?  Danzantes waiting to perform a couple of the dances from the Danza de la Pluma.


They began dancing and I flashed on Saturdays’ blog post, Danzantes in training.  However, these guys definitely weren’t apprentices — they had the steps and jumps down WITH those heavy and seemingly unwieldy penachos on their heads — and the crowd cheered.


The danzantes and most of their gathered audience were from San Bartolo Coyotepec, about 15 km south of the city.  It’s a village known for the artisans who make black pottery.  However, along with the band and dancers, there were banners and protestors.


According to this article (in Spanish), “they arrived at the presidential palace in the main square of the city to demand the replacement of the elections because the process was considered seedy and does not represent the will of the community.”


Culture and politics… I couldn’t have arranged a more quintessential Oaxaca experience, if I had tried.  And my friends, what did they think?   They loved it all!

Read Full Post »

The Danza de la Pluma penachos (headdresses), capes, and leggings are spectacular and unique to Teotitlán del Valle.  The feathered designs on the penachos are more intricate and varied than in other pueblos; and the capes and leggings are hand-woven in this village that is internationally known for its weaving.  However, while the Danza de la Pluma is a crowd-pleaser during the annual July Guelaguetza on Cerro del Fortín in Oaxaca, folkloric groups from other villages are usually chosen to perform it, as Teotitlán’s costumes are not considered “authentic.”


However, performing for tourists is not why Teotitlán del Valle tells this story through music and dance several times a year.  It is performed on the church plaza, not the municipal plaza, because it is an integral part of the annual major religious celebrations of the village:  Fiesta titular a la Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo in July, Fiesta a la Natividad de la Virgen María in September, Fiesta a el Rosario de la Virgen María in October, and Fiesta a la Virgen de Guadalupe in December.

Penachos from the Fiesta a la Natividad de la Virgen María on Sunday…

Capes from Sunday’s Fiesta a la Natividad de la Virgen María and July’s Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo festival.

Leggings from both festivals…

The various elements of the costumes do not come cheap and dancers must appeal to their extended families to assist in commissioning each of the pieces.  Thus, as annual festivals come and go during a dancer’s 3-year commitment, the costumes may evolve.

With their performances, the dancers honor the rituals of their church and community.  And, with their magnificent costumes, they pay homage to the creativity, talent, and tradition of Teotitlán del Valle’s weavers and feather artists.

Read Full Post »

Yippee, I’m back in Oaxaca!  Last night’s flight was smooth, on-time, and mostly empty.  I have to admit to always getting a goofy grin as the little Embraer comes in over the lights of the city and the smile continues through immigration and baggage claim.  It usually falters and turns to a grimace when I have to hoist my 50 pound suitcase up onto the x-ray conveyor belt.  However, last night the grin returned when I pressed the “to search or not to search” button, got the green light, and was able to proceed directly to the booth to buy my colectivo ticket —  60 pesos for door-to-door service to the historic district ‘hood.  An easy return to home.

Unpacking done, late this morning I walked down to my local mercado to restock the larder with some basics:  2 perfect avocados, 1 pristine white onion, a bunch of unblemished small and sweet bananas, half kilo of quesillo (Oaxacan string cheese), and 6 freshly made tamales (mole, rajas, and verde).  I’d actually asked for 4, but my regular tamale gal threw in 2 extras.  How often does that happen in el norte?   A welcoming return to home.

This afternoon, blogger buddy Chris and I drove out to Teotitlán del Valle for the performance of the Danza de la Pluma.  We stepped up onto the plaza of Templo de la Preciosa Sangre de Cristo and it was like emerging into the middle of a technicolor movie.  We’ve been there countless times, but today we were blown away by the scene.  Mother Nature had conspired to use her enhance wand on the sky, clouds, sun, and costumes.   A spectacular return to home!

The recent trip to California was to sign papers finalizing the sale of the house my grandparent’s built in 1957.  Prior to relocating to Oaxaca, it had been my home for 30 years, where I’d raised my kids and made many wonderful memories.  Needless to say, selling it was an emotionally challenging ordeal and it has engendered a lot of thinking about the notion of “home.”

However, these past 24 hours have reinforced my belief in bumper-sticker wisdom seen many years ago, “When you live in your heart, you are always home.”  It’s good to be home!

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

%d bloggers like this: