CENTRO DE UNIDAD POPULAR BENITO JUAREZ via Crowdrise
July 26, 2011
BENEFITING: CENTRO DE UNIDAD POPULAR BENITO JUAREZ
The Guelaguetza a Zapotec Word signifying offering our offertory, Guelaguetza was the term used to describe the ceremony and celebration held each year to propitiate the gods in return for sufficient rain and a bountiful harvest.
More than three thousand years ago the indigenous people in what is now the State of Oaxaca began to cultivate plants to augment hunting, fishing and gathering.
The most important of these was corn which formed the basis of their diet and, with the addition of tomatoes, beans, chile and squash, developed into a richly varied and delicious regional gastronomy. Thus the gods and goddess involved with water and corn were vital amongst the hagiarchy and the tribute to them was lively and colorful celebration of the music, dance and products of the people.
When the Spanish arrived in Oaxaca 1521 they converted all of the indigenous people and imposed the catholic religion. One of the tactics was to “convert” to Catholic ways the deeply rooted customs honoring pagan beliefs.
The Spanish also introduced new products and techniques which result in changes to lifestyles and traditional dress. Where before textiles were made from cotton, now you will see silk, wool, and glass bead in the clothing of the delegations to the Guelaguetza.
It is impossible to adequately describe the heart-stirring beauty of this spectacle in its jewel setting – the music, the color, the vivacity of the participant.