Thursday, February 18, 2010

Mi Querida Oaxaca

While I was growing up, I knew that my ethnic background was obviously Mexican. Both of my parents were born in Mexico. But, deep in southern Mexico lies a beautiful place, a land of dramatic beauty, proud heritage, and food. This is the state of Oaxaca where my mother was born. My mum raised me with her culture, traditions, foods, and customs. As I a kid, I never really took pride in my culture...not until I got older. That's when I realized that my culture was like no other. Soon enough, I was amazed by it and what amazed me most, was my mothers Indigenous ways.

I would like to share with all of you, the uniqueness and beauty of my culture. The Oaxacan culture First, I will talk about the people, then the languages, the tradition, the variety of foods and lastly, traditional dances.

                  Here in Oaxaca, you do not just find Mexicans, but also Indians.

I have discovered on the website called “”, that Oaxaca reflects the indigenous portion of Mexico with the largest population of indigenous people of any Mexican state. More people here speak indigenous languages than elsewhere.
In the article, “The Indigenous People of Oaxaca“, the two main groups of Indians that live here are the Zapotecs (347,000 people) and Mixtecs (241,000 people).

Oaxaca has been divided into 7 regions: the coast, the valley, mixtecs, sierra, isthmus, papaloapan, and la canada. These small communities, have their own language, clothing and dances.

Since Oaxaca is a state of indigenous people, there about eleven languages spoken here.

Although Spanish is the primary and official language, Zapotec is the dominant Indian language. Today, Zapotec is one of eleven languages spoken in Oaxaca belonging to the Otomangue family.

Of the eleven languages spoken there, I have found under ““, that Amuzgo, Chatino, Chinantec, Chocho, Ixcatec, Mazatec, Popoloco, Cuicatec, Mixtec, and Trique, also belong to the Otomangue family.

I know you’re wondering if I speak any of these languages. Unfortunately I do not, however, most of my family does and maybe one day I will learn too.

So far I have talked about the different groups of Indians and the variety of languages spoken, I will now discuss the most important part, our tradition.
Part of our tradition, is the Guelaguetza. It is celebrated the last 2 weeks in July. The Guelaguetza is particulary outstanding for its music, dances and songs. Guelaguetza is a Zapotec word meaning to "participate and cooperate" at the same time. Just like Christmas when relationships between people involving the exchange of goods.

My mum explained that the Guelaguetza is expressed by the offerings the groups representing the seven regions of Oaxaca, make to the city. Each one of these regions gives the audience a taste of their rich cultural heritage through their dances, performed to the rhythm of their songs and music and dressed in their traditional outfits.

Another holiday we celebrate is “Day of the Dead” or how I usually call it, “Peace Love and Chocolate”. Since it’s the only time of year that my mother makes chocolate dishes including her traditional hot chocolate and Mole

My mum decorates her alter with delicious dishes, chocolate, a variety of regional fruits and of course the delicious Bread of the Dead which the dead will come to enjoy.   

Food is the most important part of my culture. Any chocolate lovers out there?
Our traditional dish is Mole. Oaxaca earned the nickname “The Land of the Seven Moles" since we cook a variety of them. It is a chocolate lovers delight since it is a sauce that is made of grinding chocolate from the actual beans.

Second is our Clayudas. They are large, thick, leathery tortillas

My all time favorite is Tejate. It is a drink that is made from toasted and ground cacao and seeds of the mamey fruit.

We also love toasted grasshoppers, worm sauce, corn chips, and our all time favorite string cheese called "quesillo".

You know how Africans and Asians have their own traditional dances, well, Oaxaca does too. In fact, every region in Oaxaca has their own.

A. The Role Dance Plays, the Old Badgers Dance and the Masked Dance come from the coast.

B. The Tiger dance and Devil’s dance comes from the Mixtec region.

C. The Bull dance and Pineapple dance comes from Papaloapan.

D. The Isthmus is known for the Turtle dance.

E. The Jarabe comes from the valley region where my mum is from.


I have shared with you the beauty of my culture and why I am proud of it. Oaxaca is that beautiful place, that land of dramatic beauty, proud heritage, and delicious food. One thing my culture has taught me is that all human beings are born free and equal, they are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in spirit of brotherhood. That is why I am proud of it. If we all look around us we can see that many of us come from different ethnic backgrounds. Right?  This is my story....What’s yours?


ohthatr0ca said...

I hope everyone enjoyed reading it. Feel free to comment. You dont have to have an account

Anonymous said...

take me to oaxaca r0ca!!! :P

Doña Junta said...

Love it awesome!

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