Guelaguetza: Oaxaca’s signature event

Every July Mexicans gather in Oaxaca to attend the beloved Guelaguetza festival, a celebration of indigenous culture mixed with old Christian traditions. The Guelaguetza takes place the two Mondays after the 16th.

 It has the stoutest trunk of any tree in the world

Oaxaca’s main square and the magnificent Tule Tree – Árbol del Tule, which has the stoutest trunk of any tree in the world.

People come from all over the world and from the eight regions of the state of Oaxaca, which always participate. Each region is represented by a team of dancers, who perform the most beautiful dances their home has to offer. After the show, artisans and merchants from that region offer their finest crafts and tastiest foods to festival-goers.

At the heart of the celebration, you’ll find vendors that sell food only from their region of the state. Typical festival food includes empanadas with chicken in yellow mole sauce, empanadas with green mole sauce, cheese-and-squash-blossom quesadillas, mushroom quesadillas, corn tortillas topped with beans and fresh cheese, beef jerky, fried tacos, and cheese tostadas. If you take the short walk from the festival to downtown Oaxaca, you can enjoy dining at some of the city’s best restaurants, such as Casa Oaxaca, La Bisnaga, Los Pacos, and Asador Vasco.

The main events are the dance performances from each of the eight respective regions of the state. Oaxacans see these dances, and the exchange of goods afterwards, as an invaluable sharing of culture and goodwill between the regions of Oaxaca. There’s also a presentation of the play “The Legend of Princess Donaji”, which tells a love story involving the daughter of two ancient Mesoamerican gods. Between the first and second Mondays of the festival, vendors host a number of food and crafts shows, including mezcal tasting events.

This is a unique event in Latin America, in which each region represents its cultural heritage through songs and dances. Every performance is highly traditional and authentic. If you want to attend, purchase tickets in advance. You should also wear a wide hat and sunscreen to protect yourself from the sun, and remember to bring a bottle of water. Most importantly of all, come ready to have a lot of fun! After the festival, I recommend taking a tour of downtown Oaxaca and eating at Casa Oaxaca or La Biznaga.”


Check this video of Guelaguetza 2012!

Guelaguetza Oaxaca from James Cottle on Vimeo.

Where to Stay:

Casa Divina Oaxaca is a charming and intimate resort located four blocks from the many fascinating historic sites and wonderful restaurants of downtown Oaxaca. The resort, located within a lovingly restored 19th-century Oaxacan home, reflects the culture of this fascinating city. Authentic Oaxacan art hangs from sun-dried clay walls, making Casa Divina Oaxaca truly feel like a home away from home. Oaxaca is a historic and cultural marvel famous for its spectacular architecture and delicious food. Immerse yourself in this magical place at Casa Divina Oaxaca.


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