Guelaguetza 2010: Oaxaca Gets Dressed Up

Juan Pablo Pinzón

Guelaguetza Oaxaca

Guelaguetza, the name of Oaxaca's main folklore festival, is an expression of the cultural richness of the different regions that make up the state. This celebration takes place annually during July, usually from the second week onwards.

The celebration is held to show gratitude for the harvests of the year. It includes many forms of artistic expressions, including cooking displays, folkloric dances and several shows. The word Guelaguetza FestivalGuelaguetza literally means "to offer" or "to share", thus the real meaning of the celebration is for all the people to place their gifts and talents at everyone's disposal, as a symbol of solidarity and cooperation.

This year, the Guelaguetza festivities begin with the election of the Centeotl goddess. A young lady will be chosen to represent the indigenous god of corn, and she will be a part of all the fiestas. The contest to choose that lady will be held on July 16 and 17 at the Alameda de Guelaguetza FestivalLeon square, in downtown Oaxaca. On that same Saturday and the following one, people from the different regions of the state will have a parade around the city's historic center, showing off their typical costumes, dances and music. This colorful parade always attracts plenty of locals and visitors.

Guelaguetza FestivalA show called "Bani Stui Gulal" (The Remembrance of Ancient Times) will take place at the Plaza de la Danza on the evening of July 17 and again on July 24. The state of Oaxaca's folk dance company will also be putting on an outstanding show called "Sandunga", at the Manuel Alcala Theater.

At the Guelaguetza Auditorium, on July 18 and 25, you will be able to enjoy the Guelaguetza Festivalnight show "Donaji...The Legend". This spectacular performance, involving music, light and dance, tells the story of the Zapotec princess Donaji.

The San Andres Huayapam Fifth Festival of Tejate and Tamal will take place on July 21 and again in July 22, at the Plaza de la Danza. Tejate, one of Oaxaca's most popular drinks, is a traditional beverage made out of corn and cocoa that is well worth trying during the festival.

Guelaguetza FestivalJuly 19 and 26 are the most important dates of the celebrations, because the main show of the Guelaguetza takes place on these days. During this show, dancers from the different areas of the state perform their incredible dances, while wearing traditional costumes, and continuing a centuries-old tradition. "Lunes de Cerro" (Mondays on the Hill), as the show is also known, is held at 10 am and 5 pm, with each performance lasting about three and a half hours.

July 19 marks the start of the Mezcal Festival. At this festival you'll be able to Mezcal Festivaltry many types of this traditional beverage, produced in the local communities. The inauguration ceremony will be held at 2 pm at the Paseo Juarez Park, also known as "El Llano".

Guelaguetza FestivalIf you want to experience the cultural richness of one of Mexico's greatest states and, along with an entire community, show your gratitude for the gifts you have been blessed with, then Guelaguetza 2010 is an event that you should definitely not miss. Not only because of the extraordinary display of art and folklore, but also because of its deeper significance of solidarity, the Guelaguetza is a festival that will delight your senses, open your heart and enrich your spirit. This July, travel to Oaxaca and enjoy Guelaguetza 2010, Mexico's greatest folklore festival!