July means one thing for people from Oaxaca and tourists, Guelaguetza. It is the most outstanding multicultural representation of the towns of Oaxaca. It is about a performance where different towns from all the state present at the auditorium their traditional dancings.
Oaxaca is divided into 8 regions; Cañada, Costa, Itsmo, Sierra Sur, Sierra Norte, Mixteca, Papaloapan, and Valles Centrales, which are represented by its different towns at the Guelaguetza.
Its roots are found in the ancient Zapotec and the offerings they made to the agricultural gods in gratitude for their crops. In 1932, the Guelaguetza was officially established as a racial tribute. That is why nowadays, we have every July, party full of dance, rejoicing, traditional gala clothes, food, and art expressions.
The people from Oaxaca are proud of this unique festivity which is a cultural treasure, not only for them but for national and foreign tourists too.
This representation shows the traditions of eight regions of Oaxaca, which is internationally recognized since every year people from all over the world come together to enjoy of this celebration.
Its name is of prehispanic origin and it was taken from the “mutual aid” institutions of the natives of Oaxaca that had a great feeling of community. The term alludes to the Zapotec ideas of “cooperation and reciprocity”. In addition, it refers to the “courtesy gifts” that are exchanged between families in a community and have a deep sense of respect and collaboration.
That is precisely what the Guelaguetza represents, the unity of the towns of the state, it highlights the idea that, even with the differences between each town and their contrasting cultural expressions, they all form part of the same entity, which is to be Oaxacan.
Before the 2 days in which this festivity has place, parades or “convites” can be seen in the main streets of the historic center, they announce the big party, give people a taste of what they will see at the auditorium and invite them to join.
Given that Oaxaca is a state that depends a lot on tourism, it is important to mention the significance of the economic benefit that Guelaguetza leaves every year. Only in the period of July 22 to August 1, 2022, national and international tourists visited the entity to enjoy “el Lunes del Cerro” festivities and the activities that framed the 90th anniversary of the Racial Tribute.
The City of Oaxaca registered a hotel occupancy of 95% due to the arrival of 152,559 national and international visitors which generated an economic benefit of 463 million pesos.
That is the importance of this party of the Verde Antequera, it reminds us of our indigenous roots, makes us feel proud of the land where we were born, and helps the economy of all the artisans and merchants, and the recognition of our culture in the world.
Written by Jessica Hernández