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July in Oaxaca: The Mexican pageantry of the Guelaguetza Alvin Starkman

Tehuana women in their elaborate traditional dress. © Oscar Encines, 2008
With pageantry unrivalled in all of Mexico, the Guelaguetza is the most colorful and exhilarating of the multitude of festivals in Oaxaca. And in a state with sixteen different indigenous cultures, each with its own unique traditions including language, food, music, dress and dance, it should come as no surprise that the annual two-week July extravaganza draws both Mexican nationals and tourists from all corners of the globe. read more

Mexico this month - June Tony Burton

Read about Mexico's important historical events that have occurred during the month of June.

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Personal reminiscences of Mexico's Huichol people I: A disappearing way of life? Ronald A. Barnett ©

Huichol artisan teaches his grandson
I began to discover that certain vested interests involving the Huichol did not welcome outsiders. There was almost a political rivalry among various individuals and groups who regarded the Huichol as their own private preserve. This sense of proprietary rights by over the Huichol was confirmed later when I went to Mexico City. Back then there was intense rivalry among people working with the Huichol., too. read more

Mexico this month - May Tony Burton

Read about Mexico's important historical events that have occurred during the month of May.

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May in Mexico: Fiestas galore Carol Wheeler

Santa Elena
In Mexico, May seems much shorter than it does north of the border. There are so many holidays that the country seems to call a halt to the normal workweek and honor almost everyone.
It actually begins on April 30 with the Dia del Niño, when children are honored with gifts and treats, and classes are canceled for a day of fun. Labor Day — May 1 — follows immediately with parades in every city and town. May 3 is the feast day of the Holy Cross. The Battle of Puebla is commemorated on the 5th — el Cinco de Mayo, perhaps a bigger event in the U.S. and Canada. May 10 is always Mother's Day... read more

Orchids of Mexico Luis Dumois

 
There are an estimated 30,000 orchid species in nature, making them the most extense floral plant family on Earth. There are specimens as big as a tree, and miniatures with flowers as small as a pin head. A family so vast and diverse understands more about exceptions than about rules. Nevertheless, a quality more than any other defines the orchid: the fusion of the feminine portion of the flower - pistils - with the masculine, - stamens. Orchids have three pistils and three stamens, but they differ from other flowers, which present these elements as separate units, in that orchids have them fusioned into one structure called column or gynostemium, located in the center of the labelum, that usually showy and colored lip we admire in the flower. read more

Easter in Mexico, Semana Santa and Pascua: a Mexican holiday resource page Index Page

The Crucifixion.
The Crucifixion.
For Mexico, the Easter holidays are a combination of Semana Santa (Holy Week — Palm Sunday to Easter Saturday) and Pascua (Resurrection Sunday until the following Saturday). For most Mexicans, this 2 week period is the time of year for holiday vacations (good time to not be on the highways — just stay put and enjoy the community of your choice during this holday season). Holy Week celebrates the last days of the Christ's life. Easter is the celebration of the Christ's Resurrection. It is also the release from the sacrifices of Lent. read more

Mexico this month - April Tony Burton

Statue of Revolutionary hero Emiliano Zapata
© Julia Taylor 2007

Read about Mexico's important historical events that have occurred during the month of April.

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Mexico magic is all around Marvin West

Tecozautla-Hidalgo
Pueblos Majicos
Unbelievable: Mexico has 111 magic towns with more in the hatchery. The Pueblos Mágicos program was launched in 2001 by Mexico’s Secretariat of Tourism in conjunction with other federal and stateagencies to promote towns chosen for natural beauty, cultural riches and historical relevance. read more

Mexican Kaleidoscope - Myths, Mysteries & Mystique. A review of Tony Burton's newest book. Reviewed by Rita Pomade

Tony Burton’s recently published Mexican Kaleidoscope is a whirlwind trip through some of the underpinnings of Mexican culture, told with humour, affection and well-documented facts. This readable compendium of little known stories made me want to revisit many places I’d already seen. How much richer my experiences would have been had I been able to take this user-friendly and easily carried tome of gems with me when I was in Mexico. read more

Mexico this month - March Tony Burton

Read about Mexico's important historical events that have occurred during the month of March. read more

Top 10 Carnivals in Mexico Daniel Wheeler

Tlaxcala dancer
Celebrated 45 days before Easter (April 16th this year), Carnaval is a celebration of earthly, or carnal pleasures before the austerity and sacrifice of Lent. Beginning on the Friday before Ash Wednesday, Carnival reaches its climax on Mardi Gras — "Fat Tuesday."

With excellent weather all year round, Mexico is a great place to experience the excitement, music, dance and color of Carnaval. Here are our Top Ten picks for Carnival in Mexico, but there are many, many more. read more

Mexico this month - February Tony Burton

February 20, 1943 — A brand-new volcano, subsequently called Paricutín, erupts in a farmer’s field in Michoacan. It attracts world-wide attention. In succeeding years of eruption, two villages, Paricutin and San Juan Parangaricutirimícuaro are lost beneath the lava. Read about Mexico's important historical events that have occurred during the month of February.

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Abraham Lincoln and Mexico - A history of courage, intrigue and unlikely friendships Reviewed by Rita Pomade

Cover image of Dr. Michael Hogan's Abraham Lincoln and Mexico.
The United States and Mexico struggled through volatile years of suffering and carnage to become unified nations. Michael Hogan’s thoroughly researched and passionately written "Abraham Lincoln and Mexico" is a thought-provoking read that covers part of that struggle from 1822, when Americans settlers first arrived on Mexican territory, to 1867, when Mexico finally freed itself from France’s intrusion into its territory. The nineteenth century was a turbulent period in American and Mexican history. read more

Three Kings Day in Cajititlan, Mexico Sergio Wheeler

In Mexico, Christmas decorations stay up though January 6. The holiday celebrates Epiphany, when the Three Kings or Wise Men visited the baby Jesus with precious gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. El Día de los Santos Reyes is celebrated throughout Mexico. Yet nowhere is Three Kings Day more festive than in Cajititlan de Los Reyes, just 6.2 miles from Ajijic, Jalisco. read more

Mexico this month - January Tony Burton

Read about Mexico's important historical events that have occurred during the month of January.

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Christmas in Mexico: Navidad en Mexico, a Mexican holiday resource page Index Page

Posadas, Pastorelas And Nacimientos. Few North Americans recognize that the roots of these treasured “Christmas” traditions were active long before the birth of Christ. In fact, most evolved from pagan winter solstice rituals of the Celts, Druids, Scandinavians and indigenous groups, and the much older Jewish Festival of Lights. While the most beloved Mexican Christmas traditions are firmly based on the birth of Christ, the timing of the celebration coincides with Mexico’s ancient worship of the sun. During the nine darkest days of winter, the Aztecs celebrated the God of the Sun, pleading for his return and praising both the Sun and his virgin mother goddess. read more

Mexican Christmas menu ideas: Posadas, Noche Buena, Navidad Karen Hursh Graber

In Mexico, the Christmas season is a month-long fiesta, starting with the feast of the Virgin of Guadalupe on December 12th, and continuing through the posadas, Noche Buena and Navidad, right up to the Three Kings Day on January 6th.

During this celebratory month, preparing seasonal dishes is an important part of the festivities, with each occasion having its own specialties. These can be easily adapted to holiday menus everywhere, and a Mexican culinary theme is fun, festive, and versatile. read more

Mexico this month - December Tony Burton

Read about Mexico's important historical events that have occurred during the month of December. read more

Our Lady of Guadalupe: Tonantzin or the Virgin Mary? Ronald A. Barnett ©

It was on December 9, 1531, when Juan Diego, a humble Indian peasant, was crossing the hill of Tepeyac just north of present day Mexico City that — it is said— a beautiful shining woman miraculously appeared to him. Declaring herself to be the Virgin Mary, Mother of Christ, she called Juan her son. He reported his vision to Bishop Juan de Zumarraga, who demanded additional evidence of the divine apparition. On December 12 then, Juan Diego returned to Tepeyac, where the Virgin told him to gather roses where none had grown previously. Then, when the Indian delivered the roses to the Bishop, the image of the Virgin Mary miraculously appeared on his cloak. read more

Did you know? The Thanksgiving and Christmas turkey originated in Mexico. Tony Burton

Strange but true; the bird now so closely associated with many festive meals is a direct descendant of the wild turkeys still found in many parts of Mexico. How is it possible that a Mexican bird acquired the name turkey?

The first use in English of the word "turkey" to describe the bird dates back to 1555. By 1575 , turkey was already becoming the preferred main course for Christmas dinner. Curiously, the Turkish name for the turkey is hindi, which is probably derived from "chicken of India", perhaps based on the then-common misconception that Columbus had reached the Indies... read more

Autumn in Mexico: Iconic ingredients for Fall Holidays Karen Hursh Graber

Pollo con Manzanas
Karen Hursh Graber 2015
In recent years, “seasonal” has become a culinary buzzword, something seemingly new and novel in the U.S., where just about anything is available at any time, no matter its origin or how far it must be shipped. In contrast, Mexican cooks have traditionally relied on local availability to determine what to buy and serve. Although the rise of supermarkets and chain groceries has brought an increasing number of products that have traveled great distances, Mexicans do continue to base many meals on what has customarily been prepared and served at certain times of the year. And autumn, with its many important celebrations, is one of those times. The end of the rainy season brings the gathering of summer’s bounty, and the fall harvest yields many of the country’s characteristic ingredients. read more

Did You Know? The Hero of Nacozari Tony Burton

November 7, 2007, marks the centenary of the death of Jesús García, the "Hero of Nacozari." The small town of Nacozari occupies a valley nestled in the foothills of the Western Sierra Madre (Sierra ... read more

Mexico this month - November Tony Burton

Read about Mexico's important historical events that have occurred during the month of November.

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Day of the Dead - A Celebration David McLaughlin

Rituals and traditions can provide a sense of place and timelessness. They offer us the opportunity of feeling connected to what has gone before and what will continue through the corridors of time. It seems to me that of the three countries in North America, Mexico has developed a culture that has some of the richest and most meaningful rituals. One in particular I have adopted as it gives me much that I did not have when I lived in Canada. read more
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