TRADITIONS OF AGUASCALIENTES
Traditions in AGUASCALIENTES
Aguascalientes is a state of traditions and customs, a destination famous for its internationally recognized fairs and festivals; It is prepared to receive tourists and visitors throughout the year, some of its main tourist attractions are the San Marcos National Fair, the Skulls Cultural Festival, the Grape and Artisanal Cheese Fair.
One of the most outstanding traditions and customs of Aguascalientes is the San Marcos fair. This fair takes place from mid-April to May in the San Marcos gardens. Other traditions of Aguascalientes are the bullfights that, despite being morally questionable in recent times, have been declared Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO.
With regard to handicrafts, in Aguascalientes manual works are carried out such as hats, cowboy suits, wood carving, onyx decorations, ceramic and clay pieces, among others. In reference to religious traditions, the most relevant are the Fair of the Assumption (in honor of the dedication of the Virgin Mary) and the fair of the Virgin of Guadalupe.
The gastronomy of the region is very sophisticated and shows the influence of Spanish and aboriginal cuisine. The most outstanding dishes are bricks, pozole, tacos, tamales and San Marcos chicken.
Fairs and Festivals in AGUASCALIENTES
San Marcos Fair
With more than 180 years of history and tradition, Aguascalientes is proud to offer the most famous national fair, the “Mexico Fair”, as it is also known, the internationally known San Marcos Fair. It takes place every year from mid-April to May, and lasts 23 days, being the oldest and most famous in the country, with popular verbenas, cockfights that take place in the largest palenque in Latin America, which It also has an elegant casino, unique in Mexico, where gambling is allowed, at the end of the cockfights, select varieties are presented with artists of national and international stature.
During the fair there are also brilliant bullfights, with renowned bullfighters, in the original and beautiful bullring decorated with porticoes and quarry boxes. The National Poetry Prize, traditional costume contest, interesting agricultural, livestock and industrial exhibitions.
This fair takes place in the gardens of San Marcos where hundreds of celebrations are held. Among these, the spring parade stands out, which is a procession in which more than 90,000 people take part in colorful costumes. In addition to this, concerts are held in which national and international artists participate.
In addition, amusement parks and gastronomic fairs with typical dishes from Aguascalientes and Mexico are installed. Some of the dishes that can be found at this fair are tacos, tamales, enchiladas, muffins, mole, gorditas, fritters, churros, among others.
Named National Fair by President Adolfo López Mateos in 1958, the National Fair of San Marcos in its beginnings was held in order to market livestock and crops; It is currently an event where thousands of national and international visitors share a large number of activities with the people of Aguascalientes, giving life to a multicultural event. In this extraordinary fair, the oldest in our country, you can enjoy various shows, exhibitions, cultural, artistic and sports events, horse races and of course a majestic fireworks display.
History of San Marcos Fair
The first fair in Aguascalientes was held in 1828. In its beginnings, it was held in the month of November, giving rise to the Parián located in front of the Temple of San Diego, which had exclusively commercial purposes. By the middle of the 19th century, the fair was changed to the month of April, within the celebrations of San Marcos, an old Indian town located a few blocks from the capital’s main square.
With the arrival of the railway in 1884, the city strengthened its old vocation as merchants and, with it, its regional primacy, so the fair could be promoted and known beyond the limits of a small town festival. Within the popular imagination, the coronation of the Queen (a tradition that began in the 1920s) represents not only a beauty contest but also the longing for a society, where the governor crowns the chosen one, the poet improvises the praise and the people admire the majesty of the act.
On the other hand, there are the games, which are the maximum representation of what a fair entails. Here you will find a first-class casino, with entertaining table games, and the famous bullfighting festival that is historically and emotionally linked to the San Marcos Fair, and where it is possible to admire the fate of the most applauded bullfighters and bullfighters in the world.
Since its first edition, this fair has fulfilled a cathartic function, not only by allowing attitudes that are usually prohibited, but also by promoting the meeting of people of all ages and social classes who, for 24 days, meet in the most emblematic of the city such as the Garden of San Marcos, the Temple of San Marcos, the Plaza de Toros and La Isla San Marcos.
Festival de las Calaveras
An exhibition of art, magic, beauty and mysticism unfolds from the last days of October to the beginning of November to preserve and commemorate the unique cult of the dead that Mexican culture offers. It takes place on land adjacent to the pantheon of the cross during the last week of October and the first week of November. It is a beautiful tradition that has gained importance, since it is celebrated differently from other regions of the Republic.
In it we find candies in the shape of a skull and clay skulls of all shapes and sizes, with countless names engraved. All the ingenuity of those who work with these products is put into practice to make a satire of death. Mechanical games and stalls with snacks and seasonal fruits are installed.
Every year, the city of Aguascalientes holds this festival with different activities for the whole family. The festivity was born in 1995 as a tribute to the world-renowned master engraver José Guadalupe Posada, an artist from Aguascalientes who in 1912 created the famous metal engraving “La Calavera Garbancera”, icon and banner of this celebration, which can be seen in the museum of the death dedicated to the artist from Aguascalientes and located in the center of the city.
The Festival de las Calaveras also offers cultural activities, such as night shows, plays, parades, choreographic performances, bread of the dead workshops, engraving contest, exhibition of altars of the dead, children’s drawing and painting contests, concerts, children’s shows around death, among many other activities.
You can also characterize yourself as a catrín or catrina because throughout the park where the event takes place there are makeup experts who offer their services for a voluntary fee. There is also an artisan and gastronomic pavilion where you can try the cuisine of Aguascalientes and buy the traditional guava sweets. You will also be able to see the monumental catrinas and get to know the attractions of the city. In addition, there will be parades of allegorical cars in the main streets of the city center.
The general atmosphere is one of joy and celebration, as a way of counteracting the pain caused by death and mourning. In Aguascalientes, clay skulls are made and the names of deceased relatives and friends are written on them. On the last day of the Feria de los Muertos, the celebration is moved to local cemeteries and food is brought to share with the deceased.
Feria de la Asunción
From August 1 to 15, in which the products produced by the region are exhibited for several days: peach, grape, guava and sweets made with these fruits; table wines etc The festival culminates with the parade of allegorical cars adorned with fruit motifs, festivals and popular entertainment.
The Assumption fair is held in August. The center of the celebration is the exhibition of products from the region: peaches, grapes, guavas, wines and candies made with crystallized fruits.
Grape and New Wine Festival
In the first week of September, where the main wine companies from both the city and the State participate. A very crowded event full of attractions for those who visit it, in which there are parades of allegorical cars, dances and multiple entertainments.
During the month of August, the harvest festival is celebrated in which the different wineries of our state participate. It is a very crowded party where cultural and entertainment activities are carried out, where grape treading as well as food and pairing festivals could not be missing.
Pilgrimage of the Virgin of the Assumption
The festivities in honor of the Virgin of the Assumption, is a tradition that has evolved over time, whose nuances and characteristics have placed it in one of the most important religious festivals of the Diocese. The festival takes place through processions, pilgrimages, marches and triduums, which take place from August 1 until reaching the Pilgrimage on the night of the 15th.
It is a religious celebration that unites the families of Aguascalientes, full of color, brightening the streets where the parade of beautiful allegorical cars passes. The Hon. Bishop Salvador Quezada Limón gradually promoted Marian piety, especially during the fortnightly festivities of Our Lady of the Assumption, whose image he crowned on August 14, 1983, requesting the Pontifical Coronation of the Image from the Vatican, granted by the Pope John Paul II on March 18, 1983.
Each year more elements have been added to the parade, currently the traditional Pilgrimage consists of innumerable comparsas represented by war bands, dancers (matlachines), musical bands, mariachis, students, to which are added the Association of Charros and their Skirmishes, as well as youth religious groups that frame the course of colorful and spectacular floats with biblical themes that recount the life of the Virgin.
Regional Corn Fair
The first days of the year in San José de Gracia, Aguascalientes, are to celebrate the Regional Corn Fair. As tradition dictates, from January 1 to 8, this beautiful place celebrates the festival in honor of one of the most important foods in Mexican cuisine. And it is that without corn it would be difficult to imagine the richness of Mexican gastronomy, since it is present in the most typical dishes of traditional cuisine.
San José de Gracia is visited throughout the year by a good number of tourists. However, during the days of this festival, the influx is even greater, as many people arrive from neighboring communities to enjoy the wave of fun. That convening power is thanks to an entertainment proposal for all tastes and ages. It includes rides, children’s shows, an agricultural and livestock exhibition, as well as an election and coronation contest for who will be named queen of the fair.
Without a doubt, one of the main activities are the traditional Josefineadas. They consist of a walk through the main streets and squares of the demarcation to the heat of banda music, the best dance steps and guided by the walk of a donkey. Within the framework of this verbena, other activities are carried out such as the traditional donkey race, boxing functions, volleyball or soccer matches, among other sports and cultural activities.
Fair nights are the best at the Teatro del Pueblo. That place becomes one of the favorite corners with the music of some stellar groups of the moment and the best of local talent.
Calvillo Guava Fair
Calvillo Guava Fair, is one of the four most important festivals in the municipality and takes place in the first days of December. It is a great attraction and is full of tradition, as it offers a colorful popular festival, in addition to the typical harvest in which obviously guava-based products abound.
Cultural and sporting events, rides, cockfights, bullfights, etc. are also held. At the Guava Fair you can enjoy the Queen of the Fair Contest and there are also charro tournaments, rodeo, skirmishes, fair dance, craft, commercial and gastronomic expo.
Religious Festivities of AGUASCALIENTES
Feast of El Señor de las Angustias
Every year in the month of January, the Festival of the Lord of Angustias is lived in Rincón de Romos. The residents walk the streets of the town with the Image of the Lord of Angustias leading the way, first they lower it from its altar in a ceremony full of color and spirituality. Around the Christ we can appreciate dances of different groups of matlachines with all their color and their peculiarities, unique to this land. Various wind bands also parade by his side in accordance with the festivity of the environment.
Señor del Encino Fair
From November 4 to 14. In the surroundings of the Señor del Encino garden to worship the Black Christ, which is preserved inside the church of El Encino, a beautiful construction that belongs to the 18th century and maintains its original Baroque-style façade, with murals made by Andrés Lopez. It is a festival of a religious nature, but surrounded by popular entertainment and the enthusiasm of the local people.
Santiago Apóstol Fair
The Santiago Apóstol Fair is held on July 25 of each year. During this day, the fight between Moors and Christians is remembered, while the victory of the latter is celebrated. In addition to the dramatizations, there are bullfights and cockfights. The traditional dance of this fair is the dance of the chicahuales.
Fiesta del Señor del Salitre
Come and enjoy a party day, it takes place on the fourth Thursday after Holy Week (Thursday of the Ascension of the Lord), the Lord of Salitre is lowered from the altar to tour the main streets of Calvillo and be close to so many love professed by the people.
The festivity begins with the novenario where the neighborhoods, communities and people, families or associations that take the day are assigned, in which a pilgrimage with an allegorical car and matlachines dance is celebrated. Pilgrims come to the temple to visit the Señor del Salitre to offer him the fruit of their work and his devotion, to ask for good weather or for some favor received.
La Virgen de Guadalupe Fair
From December 4 to 12, in the Guadalupe garden and its surroundings, with rides, fireworks, popular indigenous dances, stalls selling snacks and seasonal fruits.
Handicrafts from AGUASCALIENTES
Among the best-known handicrafts from Aguascalientes, the deshilado (“deshilado”), the majolica, the sgraffito or the saddlery stand out. Throughout the centuries, Aguascalientes has created a diversified and abundant handicraft, developing unique pieces, the product of the good use of the available raw materials by the skillful hands of its artisans.
The ingenuity of the people of Aguascalientes has created many and very diverse crafts, all of great beauty and quality, such as marquetry, pottery for plates and jars, polished or rough stone for molcajetes and metates. The sarapes and jorongos, the twisted and tied fabrics, or combined to shape the hats, or the tiny pieces of wood that are integrated into large pieces creating impressive designs.
For many years, the handicrafts of the state of Aguascalientes revolved mainly around the clothing industry through the well-known works of fraying and embroidery, which still enjoy international fame today. However, the wealth of Aguascalientes crafts does not stop there. Clay miniatures, marquetry (those made of fine woods stand out), wood carvings, quarry, ceramics, stained glass, among others, are some examples of the many existing sectors in the crafts of this Mexican state.
El Deshilado (Unraveling)
The beautiful frays stand out, with ornamental figures, which the agile hands of Aguascalientes women know how to elaborate harmoniously. Unraveling has been inherited for generations and consists of a unique technique in the world in which threads are removed from a fabric with a special hook-shaped needle; in this way, frets or aesthetically beautiful figures are formed. This technique is learned from generation to generation.
Starting in the 19th century, the graphic work of José Guadalupe Posada with his engravings of “skulls and deaths” has inspired crafts with this theme, mainly those made with cardboard. With Hispanic heritage, fraying is one of the oldest existing textile techniques in Mexico. Within a very complex whole, it can be said that it is a work done by hand with a needle and a cloth.
The meticulousness, the beauty and the time determine the quality of the set. Today, this technique struggles to remain present in the market. Although less commercially successful than before, its wealth has led many to call for it to be considered cultural heritage.
Majolica is an art for ceramic decoration acquired by the influence of the Spanish community in the 16th century. Over the years, this technique has been gaining ground in Aguascalientes. Now, it is an important part of the regional culture. This technique is usually applied to clay and its purpose is to glaze or glaze, especially domestic crockery, giving the appearance of metallic reflections.
Sgraffito is one of the most primitive craft techniques. Archaeological remains from the first phases of the Neolithic can be found. In this technique, the ceramic, when it is still tender, gains life and personality through interesting lines, shapes or incisions. In Aguascalientes, they are usually used in geometric figures and shapes that simulate nature.
The predominant colors are black and white. It is a technique much admired by the public. Its complexity lies in giving shape through the borders and drawings engraved on the ceramic.
This is an art that aims to work with leather goods or harnesses for cavalry. The saddler is in charge of manipulating the leather so that it can be used on a daily basis. It also produces field work items. Aguascalientes is known as the cradle of the most experts in this art of leather manipulation. His main creation is saddles. Hats and well-known charro suits also arise as a result of the application of this art to leather.
A precious stone that is more than 30 million years old is used in Aguascalientes jewelry. It is called Fire Agate Stone. It can be found in very specific mines and deposits in the region. Once polished and turned into rings, earrings or bracelets, it can reach an exorbitant value in the market.
The traditional pottery dedicated to the elaboration of clay objects is deeply rooted in some municipalities such as Real de Encontros. It is not uncommon to find markets and craft stalls in its streets where you can find pots, jugs, vases or pots made with this ancient technique.
Crafts in the STATE OF AGUASCALIENTES
The Casa de las Artesanías is located in the state capital, where the work of the talented hands of the artisans of Aguascalientes is exhibited. There are works of pottery, ceramics, quarry, wood carving, saddlery and pita, popular toys, fine wood models, traditional cardboard and basketry or natural fiber fabrics. As for majolica work, it is a tradition that dates back to the 16th century and stands out for its enameling and glazing.
There is also beautiful jewelry in the state and the most used stone is the Fire Agate that is found in the mines of the region. This beautiful and original stone is used in bracelets, rings and necklaces. However, one of the handicrafts that have given the state its name is fraying and embroidery, which are characterized by the beauty and thoroughness of the work.
Crafts in CALVILLO
It is considered the cradle of unraveling, especially Jaltiche de Arriba and La Labor. This wonderful art that distinguishes the state, Here you can find unique garments, made with an unparalleled exquisite technique. The Magical Town has an Artisan’s House where you can find beautiful clothing that incorporates fraying in a masterful way, as well as organic jewelry, beautiful paintings that reflect the landscapes of Aguascalientes, soaps, alebrijes and a wide variety of pieces of crochet.
Crafts in REAL DE ASIENTOS
Its typical craft is traditional clay pottery, with which a large number of pieces such as pitchers, pots, pots, jars, vases, ashtrays and candle holders are made. These items can be purchased at stalls located on the streets or in towns near the region. The inhabitants of this town are also skilled with the works of pink quarry.
Crafts in SAN JOSÉ DE GRACIA
San José de Gracia has a craft market where you can find ceramic pieces and some figures that represent the famous Broken Christ.
You will also find some embroidery, dolls and charrería objects. Another good option to buy handicrafts is in stores near the main square.
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