Heirs of a powerful multiethnic culture that attracts for its authenticity, Oaxaca is a great ethnic and cultural mosaic that is expressed in multiple languages, dances, songs, dresses and customs that great diversity.
Julio: Month of La Guelaguetza
" Fiesta de los Lunes del Cerro"
Their identity and values take effect in the festivities that are parties full of mysticism, joy and vigorous color that are carried out with true enthusiasm for Oaxacans. The Guelaguetza constitutes an event in which all the people participate, without distinction of social status.
Between the first Monday and its eighth there are various activities such as gastronomic and artisan shows and traditional representations of the most diverse communities in the state, as well as exhibitions, concerts and other events of cultural importance organized by the institutions that disseminate the culture of Oaxaca in all its manifestations.
For more than 40 years, the "Fiestas de Lunes del Cerro" are traditionally held in the City of Oaxaca, the two Mondays following July 16.
Apparently, this festival has its origin in the colonial era and is related to the so-called Corpus party of the Church of Carmen Alto, a temple that the Carmelites built on the slopes of a hill that the Zapotecs had called the Bella Vista, and it was celebrated the Sunday following July 16 and was repeated eight days later in the so-called "eighth".
To these festivities, the enthusiasm of the indigenous residents of the towns surrounding the city was soon added, particularly those of "Guaxaca", which was the capital of the Marquesado del Valle granted to Hernán Cortés by the king of Spain, and the Xochimilco, which had been founded in 1521, on the orders of Hernán Cortés himself, north of the mentioned city. They maintained their own traditions, according to which, they celebrated a holiday dedicated to Centéotl, goddess of sweet corn or corn, who made great honors and offerings.
The inevitable interrelation between the groups and the efforts of the evangelizers to make the imposition of Catholic rites acceptable, made it possible to foster a cult in which elements of the indigenous tradition were incorporated, making external liturgical acts more festive and spectacular, from the moment that Indians, blacks and Spaniards began to live more intensely.
The festivities of the "Lunes del Cerro"
The festivities of the "Lunes del Cerro" are held throughout the month of July with folkloric presentations, concerts, exhibitions, cultural and sporting events, including La Guelaguetza, The Legend of Princess Donají and The Mezcal and Gastronomic Fair.
Guelaguetza is a Zapotec word that denotes the act of participating cooperating; It is a free gift that carries no more obligation than reciprocity. The Guelaguetza of the Lunes del Cerro is expressed in the offering to the City of Oaxaca made by representative groups of the eight traditional regions:
The Central Valleys, La Sierra Juárez (North), La Sierra Juárez (South), La Cañada, Papaloapan, La Mixteca, La Costa, and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec.
Each delegation presents a sample of their cultural heritage through dances that perform to the sound of music and the songs that are their own, wearing gala clothing from their respective villages. Upon completion, each group distributes its "Guelaguetza" to the public composed of objects characteristic of their respective regions.
Parade of Delegations
Recently, other folkloric shows for popular entertainment have been added to these festivals, such as the parade of 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 "marmot", which is a large spherical lantern covered with cloth, the "giants", the "China Oaxaqueña", women of the city carrying chilled baskets accompanied by their music band and the rockets; They are followed by the other delegations, each preceded by the music of their region.
The China Oaxaqueña is the simple woman selling the market, which sells tortillas, meat, fruit and vegetables, carry a basket of joy on their heads.
La Diosa Centéotl
Al día siguiente que es domingo, se realiza en la Plaza Central la elección de la representante de la Diosa Centéotl que presidirá las fiestas. En este acto contienden una aspirante de cada delegación. En este certámen no se busca elegir a la más bella o a la más suntuosamente atavida, sino a la más representativa y conocedora de la tradición de su pueblo.
Por las noches ese mismo día se realiza el Bani Stui Gulal* (repetición de la antigüedad) que era una representación de la historia de los Lunes del Cerro en sus diferentes épocas.
The Goddess Centéotl
The organizers held in the Central Plaza the election of the representative of the Goddess Centéotl, who will preside over the festivities. In this act they contend an applicant of each delegation. This contest does not seek to choose the most beautiful or the most sumptuously dressed, but the most representative and knowledgeable of the tradition of its people.
Presentation of La Guelaguetza at the Guelaguetza Auditorium
The first "Monday of the Hill" at five in the morning, the "chirimeteros" of the Central Valleys, play the "mañanitas" on the hill, with whistles, drums and chirimías, while people begin to reach the Cerro del Fortin, place where the Guelaguetza Auditorium is located, where you can enjoy a succulent Oaxaca lunch, before entering the auditorium where the marimba and the chirimeteros offer an audition to the attendees. At ten in the morning the Guelaguetza begins.
Presentation of the legend of Princess Donají
The General Coordination of Tourism Muncipal presents this show, which has become one of the strongest and indelible traditions of the Oaxacans within the festivities of the Mondays of the Hill. The Folkloric Ballet of Oaxaca stages this legend in this great spectacle of music, light and dance. (+) Info
The Mezcal Fair
Gallery, gastronomic exhibition, cultural and artistic forum in an area of eight thousand 900 square meters in the shape of a cross is the extension that will occupy the National Fair of the Mezcal Oaxaca in the Paseo Juarez Park "El Llano". (+) Info