The Guelaguetza is festival performed every year in Oaxaca, Mexico. Oaxaca’s Guelaguetza is one of the state’s most popular celebrations, people will reserve their tickets and itineraries months in advance. During Pre-Hispanic times, the Guelaguetza originated as a rite performed to the ancient gods in the site known by the Zapotecs as Daninayaaloani or the hill of magnificent view. The ancient Mexica worshiped several gods, including Centéotl, the Corn Goddess, whom they revered and celebrated annually with dances, ceremonies, and a massive eight-day feast. The Zapotec term, Guelaguetza is a gift of thanks that bears no obligation other than return. Guelaguetza signifies profound friendship, giving, compassion, love and collaboration.
Los Valles Centrales, La Mixteca, La Caada Tuxtepec, La Costa, La Sierra Juárez and the Isthmus of Tehuantepec amongst other groups are all represented at the reunion of the annual event.
The event includes a large portion of dancing. Dancers from different regions arrive at different times of the day to perform fandangos to the sounds of various flavours and fandangos. Poems that chronicle and praise the origins of a dance are often read at the start of each one.
They have their own traditions, and many of them remain popular for years to come owing to their appeal. Feather dance and pineapple flower are two of the most popular shows of the festival.
The Guelaguetza’s musical accompaniment is a wind band. The dancers are accompanied by real musicians while they execute their routines. An annual performance of the tale of Princess Donaj, the last daughter of Zapotec monarch Cosijoeza, who is claimed to have offered her life to rescue the people from the evil princess, is held in addition to the musical performances each year.
While this spectacle brings international attention to Oaxaca. The increasing of tourism has led to changes in the festival. Making it more commercialized and appealing to everyone who desires to attend this festival.
Between this first video and the following one you can tell an obvious separation. The first video comes directly from indigenous people in neighboring villages. It is too costly to travel to the city for the Guelaguetza. Although the people in these villages are unbothered by it because they create their own festival . The important of this practice is to help each other as a community and to give without expecting to receive.
In the commercialized version although beautiful only aim to improve on the aesthetic and it feels more inviting for our tourism than culture.
- Flores-Marcial, Xochitl Marina. A History of Guelaguetza in Zapotec Communities of the Central Valleys of Oaxaca, 16th Century to the Present. University of California, Los Angeles, 2015.
- Hernández-Escampa, Marco, and Daniel Barrera-Fernández. “Tourism pressure as a cultural change factor: The case of the Guelaguetza festival, Oaxaca, Mexico.” The Routledge Handbook of Festivals. Routledge, 2018. 357-365.
|MLA||Quijano, Jesús Lizama. La Guelaguetza en Oaxaca: fiesta, relaciones interétnicas y procesos de construcción simbólica en el contexto urbano. Ciesas, 2006.|