Yesterday was SO much fun!!! I’m spending Christmas with family in New York and was invited by my daughter-in-law to speak to her special education class. Wearing one of my huipiles from the Papaloapan region of Oaxaca, I filled them in on “life in Oaxaca.”
We looked at a map of Mexico and I pointed to where the state of Oaxaca is located.
We spoke a little Spanish and discovered that some familiar foods, like chocolate, gum (chicle), corn (maíz), and turkey (pavo), originated in Mexico. They learned that there are many artisan crafts made in Oaxaca and I showed them a tapete (rug) that was woven in Teotitlán del Valle.
We talked about festivals with processions, bands, marmotas, monos, and dancing. And, to illustrate the diversity of the indigenous peoples of Oaxaca, I created a short video from La Guelaguetza 2014.
We discussed the differences between Christmas traditions in Mexico and the USA — that Christmas trees aren’t as common, but most everyone sets up a nacimiento (nativity scene) in their home.
Of course, they loved the idea of breaking open a piñata filled with candy and trinkets.
I concluded with a video I’d made and previously posted of the castillo in Teotitlán del Valle during the festival honoring the Virgen del Rosario. Needless to say, they were awestruck by the fireworks. And then I gave them each a woven palm leaf piñata ornament. Alas, no candy inside!
I was very touched that my daughter-in-law returned home later in the afternoon bringing individualized thank-you notes from the students. However, I would like to give a big “muchisimas gracias” to her for inviting me and to her students for being such an attentive, engaged, and delightful audience!