LA GUELAGUETZA

México » States » Oaxaca » La Guelaguetza

LA GUELAGUETZA (Monday of the Hill)

The Guelaguetza is an ancient tradition with pre-Hispanic roots related to agricultural ceremonies of gratitude to the gods for the arrival of the rains and the lifting of the harvest at the end of July and is the largest festival in Oaxaca. La Guelaguetza is a celebration of gratitude for the arrival of the rains and the harvests, in which representatives from all regions of the state gather in the capital to share their culture through dances, crafts and food.

La Guelaguetza is celebrated every year on the two Mondays after July 16, except when the first Monday is July 18, Benito Juárez’s death anniversary.

Many types of dances also participate, such as the traditional Flor de Piña; where women usually dress in Huipiles representing the different regions of the state, as well as with their pineapple on their shoulders, they comb their hair with beautiful long braids accompanied by their ribbons and can not missing her accessories that is, bracelets, necklaces and earrings of precious colors and her beautiful makeup.

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The Origins

Apparently, this festival has its origin in colonial times and is related to the so-called Corpus Christi festival of the Carmen Alto Church, a temple that the Carmelites built on the slopes of a hill that the Zapotecs had called Bella Vista, and it was celebrated on the Sunday following July 16 and was repeated eight days later in the so-called “eighth”.

Festivities in Honor of La Virgen del Carmen Alto

The Corpus Christi festivals faithfully followed the Spanish tradition and were celebrated as part of the ritual of the Catholic temples in the city, then called Antequera. The coincidence between both festivals, the indigenous and the Spanish, facilitated the syncretism that gave rise to the Cerro Mondays festivities, in which the Oaxacan tradition is still preserved with great enthusiasm, which, moreover, is clearly related with the popular belief that Mondays are auspicious days for festive rites.

La Guelaguetza
La Guelaguetza
The Festivities of “Los Lunes del Cerro” (Monday of the Hill)

The Monday of the Hill festivities take place throughout the month of July with folkloric presentations, concerts, exhibitions, cultural and sports events, standing out:

  • La Guelaguetza (Guelaguetza Auditorium)
  • The Parade of Delegations
  • The Legend of Princess Donají
  • The Mezcal and Gastronomic Fair
  • As well as many other events and activities within the City and its surroundings

Guelaguetza is a Zapotec word that denotes the act of participating in cooperation; It is a free gift that carries with it no obligation other than that of reciprocity. The Guelaguetza of the Monday of the Hill is expressed in the offering to the City of Oaxaca that representative groups of the eight traditional regions make:

The Central Valleys, La Sierra Juárez (North), La Cañada, Papaloapan, La Mixteca, La Costa, La Sierra Sur and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec. Each delegation presents a sample of their cultural heritage through dances that they perform to the sound of music and songs that are their own, wearing the gala clothing of their respective towns. At the end, each group distributes its “Guelaguetza” to the public, made up of objects characteristic of their respective regions.

Parades of the Delegation

Recently, other folkloric shows for popular recreation have been added to these festivals, such as the parade of the delegations organized in the manner of the traditional Calenda and which takes place on the Saturday before the first Monday.

This calenda is headed by the “marmota”, which is a large spherical lantern covered in cloth, the “giants”, the “Chinese oaxaqueñas”, women of the city carrying baskets of flowers accompanied by their band and the rockets; They are followed by the other delegations, each one preceded by the music of their region.

The Goddess Centéotl

As part of the Cerro Mondays festivities, the Secretariat of Cultures and Arts of Oaxaca (Seculta), and the Organizing Committee of these celebrations invite Oaxacan women from the eight regions of the entity, to participate in the Contest to choose to the representative of the Goddess Centéotl.

Presentation of Princess Donají
Presentation of Princess Donají
Presentation of the legend of Princess Donají

The General Coordination of Muncipal Tourism presents this show, which has become one of the strongest and indelible traditions of Oaxacans within the Cerro Mondays festivities. The Folkloric Ballet of Oaxaca stages this legend in this great show of music, light and dance. It takes place on Sunday afternoon, before the presentation of the Guelaguetza on “Monday of the Hill”.

Presentation at the “Guelaguetza Auditorium”

On Monday at five in the morning, the “chirimeteros” of the Central Valleys play the “mañanitas” on the hill, with whistles, drums and shawms, while people begin to arrive at Cerro del Fortin, where the Auditorium is located. Guelaguetza, where you can enjoy a succulent Oaxacan lunch, before entering the auditorium where the marimba and the chirimeteros offer an audition to the audience. At ten in the morning the Guelaguetza begins.

The Mezcal Fair

Gallery, gastronomic exhibition, cultural and artistic forum in an area of 8,900 square meters in the shape of a cross is the extension that will occupy the Oaxaca National Mezcal Fair in the Paseo Juárez “El Llano” Park.

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