The costumes worn by Conchero Dancers can easily cost a life's savings. They are heavily influenced by Miztec or Aztec design.

Masks and feather headdresses: Mexicans celebrate danzas

Mexicans love to wear masks, to dance and make music in a blazing display of fireworks, feasting and shooting off pistols. Appearances are deceptive; even the poorest pueblo collects money to celebrate the patron saint’s day, the Virgin of Guadalupe, Independence Day and whatever else calls for gaiety and loud noise. Religious and historical dances […]

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A message declaring "Palm Sunday" spins atop a castillo during Palm Sunday festivities in Mexico. © Julia Taylor, 2007

Fireworks artist: José Zuñiga, castillero

Jose Zuñiga has been making castillos for the better part of 25 years. His father was a Maestro de Fuegos Artificiales, and from boyhood, he remembers being part of the family business. Today, he runs his own fabrica, with 5 men who help with the armature, delivery and illumination of Mexico’s favorite fiesta perk. Castillos are lightweight towers of cane and wood, which […]

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Tehuana Mamas Cook Up Magic: Food and Fiestas in the Isthmus

Mexican Kitchen Perhaps the most distinctive characteristic of Oaxaca is the tremendous difference between one region of the state and another. The sierras which crisscross it form natural boundaries between enclaves of culture which have existed since pre-Hispanic times. One of the most unique and charismatic of these is a group known as istmeños, inhabitants of the […]

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From Masa To Mesa: The Many Faces Of Tortillas Part 2

Last month, the nixtamalization of corn dough – or masa – was discussed, along with a description of the process itself and detailed instructions for making masa at home, either from scratch with dried corn, or using masa harina mix. Now comes the fun part: the many different regional treats that can be made with this basic […]

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The Mexican kitchen: a taste for all seasons

One of the most fascinating aspects of exploring the cuisine of another country is the process of becoming acquianted with the history, customs and traditions that are an intrinsic part of the cultural landscape of cooking and eating. In Mexico, festivals, rituals and personal commemorations are all important events in terms of celebrating with food […]

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