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What is the Guelaguetza ?

Updated: May 6

The Guelaguetza, officially named in 1953, is a beautiful cultural spectacle celebrated in the central valleys of Oaxaca, in south western Mexico. Recognized as the most important cultural, ethnic and traditional celebration on the American continent, the Guelaguetza takes place in the last two weeks of the month of July, when the rains begin in the state of Oaxaca and when color and joy reign in the city thanks to this great celebration.

Guelaguetza Oaxaca

A festival celebrating the ethnic and cultural diversity of Oaxaca

The festivities include the participation of the diverse indigenous groups that come from  the 8 different geographic regions of Oaxaca. The ethnic and cultural diversity of the state comes together at this date under the same principle : the “Guelaguetza”. The meaning of this word of Zapotec origin refers to a beautiful custom of solidarity, of reciprocal help, in which the one who receives is obliged to give and we all participate. Today, during these two weeks of celebration we can see through the historic center of the capital of Oaxaca the different participating delegations delivering gifts, mezcal, bread, traditional sweets, among other things to attendees, visitors and tourists. This folklore parade is called “calendas” and we can all participate by dancing, drinking, eating or accompanying the musical bands during their journey.

Today we can enjoy an extensive program of concerts and cultural diversity throughout the city of Oaxaca. The colors, music and food are faithful companions of such an important celebration, this is how the mezcal fair has managed to take place where we can find all the possible varieties of this traditional and endemic liquor of Oaxaca.

Oaxaca city Guelaguetza

Important dates of the Guelaguetza

During the Guelaguetza we have 3 important dates. Two of them are the so-called “Mondays of the hill”. These are the days in which the participating towns represent their communities with music, dance, clothing, traditions, languages, food, local fruits and more. All of this is shared with the public in attendance at the Guelaguetza auditorium, located on the Fortín hill, just above t5he city center, named by the Mexica (Aztecs) who came to settle in Oaxaca as “the hill of the beautiful view.”

In addition to the Mondays of the Hill, the Guelaguetza is complemented with a celebration called “the Centéotl Goddess.” In this contest, the person who will be the representative of this “racial tribute” is chosen. The representative woman is chosen based on her knowledge of her origins, her ability to speak their indigenous language and the representation of their roots in a proud way. Whoever is selected, Goddess Centéotl, begins the Mondays of the hill together with the government authorities.

Guelaguetza festival

The Guelaguetza is a celebration that will continue to evolve over the years, so it is important to praise the culture and traditions in the state of Oaxaca so as not to lose the custom and originality of the festival.

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