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GUELAGUETZA: A Traditional Pre-Hispanic Festival in Southern Mexico November 16, 2009

Filed under: Mexican Culture,Mexico Tourism — sectaluas @ 5:30 am
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A peculiar colorful celebration in the America takes place in the core of the southern of Mexico. The guelaguetza is one of the most important celebrations in the country it consist in dance typical music of the zone of Oaxaca Mexico. This event year to year is celebrated in a hill, and names ‘Lunes del Cerro’.

The 2009 celebrations were in July 20 and 27. There is in an auditorium like the antique Greek theater and is in the Fortin Hill, this event also is realized in other towns like Central Valleys, Zaachila, Cuilapan de Guerrero, San Antonino Castillo Velasco, Tlacochahuaya, Reyes and Villa de Etla etc.

 Guelaguetza is a festival that has a base the religion of the indigenes of theregion and it is appropriate to the party of Saint Carmen that is two Mondays after July 16; however the event is a mix  of religions because also the festival is dedicated to indigenous gods particularly Miztec the god of Corn, Centeotl and the Zapotec. In the celebrations a woman is chosen to represent the god of corn, she participate the Sunday before the event.  

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The word Guelaguetza has many means but the more recognized are that comes from the Zapotec language and means ‘reciprocal exchanges of gifts and services’ confirm by the historians. The people want to represent the exchange of food and everything that they can give, this tradition was of their ancestors Zapotecas.

 For that Guelaguetza derives of the Zapotec term guendalezaa that means present and offer basically nevertheless this term was distort by the Spanish colonization but the essential mean of first give and then receive has been maintained until our times

The presents or gifts in Guelaguetza is different depend the region, the work of the people are voluntary but exist a tradition names tequio where the work is obligatory and is a social function.

The dances represent the culture and the expressions of each zone of Oaxaca. The 7 regions that represent the guelaguetza are these:

  • Los Valles Centrales
  • La Sierra Juárez
  • La Cañada
  • Tuxtepec
  • La Mixteca
  • La Costa
  • El Istmo de Tehuantepec

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When the dance of the region is finished, the represents of the zone present to the public many peculiar things like vegetables, fruits and part of their costumes. So the public catch the presents and somepeople return the gifts in form of appreciation.

 The Guelaguetza is not only the dances of the two days on the hill; also consist in folk and gastronomic presentations that were the last two weeks of July. The most important events that were occurred wile guelaguetza are the exhibition of Donaji and the legend of Bani Stui Gul. The Saturday before the dances in the hill is celebrated a parade with the delegations of Guelaguetza, they have a guide of figures of Mache paper that name calendars.   

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Article by Saul

 

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