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Guelaguetza, Oaxaca, Cultural Festival, July, 2014


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Tags: Guelaguetza, oaxaca, Cultural Festival, July 2014
  • Added on: June 30th, 2014
Guelaguetza Festival 2014
Posted June 30, 2014 by David Hilbert

The annual Guelaguetza celebration in Oaxaca City sees indigenous groups from the eight regions of Oaxaca State congregate in the City of Oaxaca to celebrate their agricultural way of life. Guelaguetza is a word for communal offering or gift in the Zapotec language. Parade video 

In 2014 there will be over 40 indigenous groups participating. The modern Guelaguetza is in its 82nd year as a celebration that includes performances by groups of dancers who come to Oaxaca City from the eight distinct regions of the State of Oaxaca where seventeen or so indigenous languages are still spoken. 
The tradition goes back several thousand years to the thanking of the Gods for favorable crops and communal sharing. In the modern celebration, the performers dance and enact stage plays and shower the audience with offerings typical of their region. This is the essence of the Guelaguetza, a sharing and reaching out in the spirit of community.

Guelaguetza Events 
The Guelaguetza celebration starts with parades in the City of Oaxaca and then performances at the theater built in the 1970s on the hill, Del Fortin, above and to the west of the city. The celebration is one of costuming and performing the regional dances.

Princess Donaji
The events also include a stage play depiction of the story of the Princess Donaji, the last Zapotec empress. This performance takes place on the two Sundays before the Monday Guelaguetza presentations, 8:00 pm, 100 pesos for section A and B (Proceeds benefit the Oaxaca old peoples home) Musical groups perform starting at 5:30 pm

Corn Goddess 
The event includes the election of a woman chosen for her knowledge of her region's cultural history and traditions. She will represent the Corn Goddess, Centeotl, the Goddess of Young Corn. She will be elected at the Jardin Panuelito, near the Santo Domingo Church, around the 15th of July, the week before the first Guelaguetza performance.

Guelaguetza Parades
The Guelaguetza parades are something special. There will be at least four parades, perhaps more during the three weeks of the Festival. Parades occur on Friday and Saturday the week before the Guelaguetza presentation and then again on the two Saturdays before the Monday Guelaguetza performances. The parades will form at 6-7 pm in the Stone Cross Park between Alcala and Garcia Vigil, near the Pochote Theater. The parades go south on the pedestrian-only street, Alcala, to the Zocalo. Men and women dressed in the costumes of their villages dance while marching bands play a unique mix of brass and village tunes.

Parade of the Delegations: the Saturday before the first Monday Performance. Stone Cross park to the Cathedral
Parade of the Delegations, the Saturday before the second Monday Performance. Same starting point and route. 
Parade dates, times, and routes could change, check with tourist info for any changes.
City Tourist Office
Office of Tourism, City of Oaxaca, 102 Matamoros. The office is located between Alcala (Street) and Calle Garcia Vigil (Street), 4 blocks north of the Zocalo.

Guelaguetza Performance Schedule 
The Guelaguetza performance event takes place on the first Monday after the 16th of July. A second performance takes place on the following Monday. Two Performances daily 10am, 5 pm.
July 16 is significant as the day honoring the Corn Goddess Centeotl. 
The 16th of July is also the feast of the Virgin Del Carmen (Virgin of Mount Carmel)

The Guelaguetza event is also called the "Los Lunes del Cerro" or Mondays On The Hill. 

Dates and Tickets 
2014 dates: Two days of performances; July 21 and July 28, 
Two performances daily, 10 am performance, and 5 pm performance. 
Ticket Price: Section A, 1,240 Pesos, Section B, 960 Pesos, Section C and D, free
Available through or Oaxaca Tourist Office

On Monday the participants walk to the hill to the west of the city, Cerro del Fortin, and the auditorium, where the stage plays and regional dances take place.
Mezcal Festival
During the Guelaguetza Festival there will also be a Mezcal fair at the Llano Park.

Tradition of the Guelaguetza ceremony is a continuation of ancient rituals based on the connection between the Gods and the favorable conditions for agriculture. Corn was a primary crop of the ancients and was first developed or hybridized around 7,000 years ago, possibly in Oaxaca State, based on archaeological finds of 5000 year old corn cobs in Oaxaca. There are long standing traditions in Oaxaca of honoring the Rain Gods and Corn Gods and of offering regional foods as gifts.

The Guelaguetza has become a popular cultural event throughout the country particularly after 1987 when Oaxaca reached UNESCO World Heritage status. The modern, high-speed highway built in 1994 has made the event easily accessible to visitors from Puebla, Veracruz, and Mexico City. 
Oaxaca's small but modern jet airport with direct flights from Houston and Mexico City has made the City of Oaxaca a destination for international travelers. 
Rainy season will be well established by July so umbrellas and rain gear are important for the afternoon showers.

Source of Information
Office of Tourism, City of Oaxaca, 
102 Matamoros, Centro Historico, Oaxaca

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