Swarupa Ovalekar has written three books about Mexico, making her something of an expert on the nation’s culture and food – and her blog posts are as educational as they are entertaining
Being a quintessential expression of Mexican folklore, it’s only fitting that mariachi music gets its very own festival.
Mexico’s famous cultural festival, El Encuentro Internacional del Mariachi y la Charrería, is an annual celebration of mariachi music and charreria (a traditional custom and sport) held in Guadalajara (gwah-dah-lah-hah-rah), the cultural centre of Western Mexico and the birthplace of mariachi music. It is an icon of Mexican music, both on the national and international level and features renowned local and international musicians.
Started in 1994, this important two week-long festival runs between late-August and mid-September attracting over 500 modern mariachi ensembles and 250 traditional mariachi groups from throughout Mexico and abroad (including Colombia, the United States, Canada, France and Argentina).
On the inaugural day, long colorful parades and floats pass along the main road to the city’s Historic Center with men and women on horseback, dressed in colonial-style dresses.
The cultural extravaganza includes colorful parades, folkloric ballets and charreadas (“Mexican rodeos”). Performances take place on the streets and in various venues throughout the city.
The main festivities are staged in Teatro Degollado (teh-ah-troh deh-goh-yah-doh), the city’s beautiful neo-classical theatre, although verbenas (“evening parties”) are also held in the city’s plazas, and the plazas of the adjacent municipalities.
There is an intimate relationship between mariachi music and charros (“cowboys”) which is why mariachi performers wear traditional charro suits.
The central part of the charrería is the charreada where charros compete in roping and riding events while the women execute daring feats and precision maneuvers while riding side-saddle.
Several charreadas including equestrian competitions and demonstrations are staged throughout the duration of the festival.
And now, here’s popular Mexican singer Alejandro Fernandez with a lovely romantic song Canta Corazón…enjoy
Intrepid traveller, polyglot and author of the Epic 3-Book Series on Mexico, Swarupa uses her blog to explore her passion for food, salsa and world history and culture.
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