by Ron Mader
No country features more for travellers seeking offbeat, one-of-a-kind diversions than Mexico,” writes David Agren. In his article for the Ottawa Citizen he tracks the shrines erected to folk saints by narcotics traffickers and the high-flying antics of lucha libre. If you are looking for attractions that are off the beaten track, check out his top five list.
Tip – Keep an eye on David’s terrific photo gallery archived on Flickr.
by Ron Mader
Mexico is known for its colorful, grandiose festivals, but one of the most unique is Radish Night. Come for the rábanos, stay for the totomoxtle!
La Noche de Rábanos (Radish Night) is celebrated on December 23rd on Oaxaca City’s Zócalo and has been a focal point of Christmas celebrations for more than a century. Combining folk art and agriculture, it is one of the most unique festivals in the world. This year prior to the celebration I have been invited to the harvest in El Tequio Park near the airport.
What amazes me as much as the event is how popular the photos I have taken have been. Last year more than 15,000 people viewed the gallery thanks to a link from Yahoo. Of all the photos I have taken, these are the most popular. I don’t know if there will be an online surge on the Web again but all bets are on that tourism will be ahead in December 2007 than where it was a year ago.
By Ron Mader
Oaxaca City, Mexico is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the Centro Historico and the Monte Albán archaeological site being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The party began in earnest last Saturday at a reception at the Santo Domingo Cultural Center and continues this week with presentations.
1987 was an important year for Mexico. Other notable sites that received the UNESCO status include Xochimilco, the historic centers of Mexico City and Puebla, the archaeological sites of Teotihuacán and Palenque and the Sian Ka’an Biosphere Reserve. For the complete index, check out the World Heritage Sites in Mexico.
by Ron Mader
Mexico’s Day of the Dead is a holiday that combines ancient indigenous traditions and modern fanfare. It’s a whimsical and yet serious holiday that takes place between October 31st and November 2nd. All eyes will be on Oaxaca to see if this holiday spurs the lackluster tourism sector back to life.
Mexico may have the most spectacular festivals in the hemisphere. Well known are festivities in Oaxaca, Michoacán, and Mexico City. Planeta.com is launching a global group focusing on the Muertos holiday in 2007. Add your photos of altar preparation and festivities to the Day of the Dead 2007 Flickr group. Our only request is that you ask permission before you take photos that you add to this group.
By Ron Mader
Oaxaca City’s Sánchez Pascuas Market specializes in fresh vegetables and fruits, local cheeses, good food and crafts. In 2007 this traditional market celebrated its 35th anniversary and the party was sublime!
Sánchez Pascuas is documented in the newly developing Oaxaca Market Project, an initiative of Planeta.com and friends in Oaxaca. We ask visitors to print photos (seen here archived on Flickr) and give them to the venders. This puts a new spin on the traditional “take only photographs” mantra by giving the photos back and raising awareness and increasing purchases of traditional crafts and local food.
From piedrazos to tlayudas, the Best of Oaxaca survey addresses specialized treats which makes this place unique.
The survey asks about traditional food items, places to visit and distinctive features including city parks and historic trees.
Nominations are now being accepted in the 2007 Best of Oaxaca Survey. Nominate your favorites now!
The Zapotec community of Teotitlán del Valle holds its annual town fiesta the first week in July. There is an assortment of carnival rides, and on Wednesday, July 4, performances of the famous Danza de la Pluma in which dancers wear elaborate headdresses fashioned from painted feathers.
Lying at the base of the Sierra Juárez, the town is within hiking distance of interesting places such as El Picacho, Cerro Gie Bets, which translates as ‘Stone Brother’ in Zapotec. Tip for visitors – check out weaver-guided tours. New this year will be a Feria de Tamales. Spend some time in the Place of the Gods!