What I enjoy about blogs

July 25, 2009 at 10:38 pm (Uncategorized)

While reading the other students’ blogs I was moved by the many personal stories I encountered. From grandmother’s advice to personal cultural confusion, this, I thought was the most interesting part of blogging; getting to know the person hitting the keyboard on a very personal level. I enjoyed learning about other parts of Mexico some people discussed and posted pictures of. I enjoyed the stories of childhood experiences that brought so much life to a simple webpage. For this reason I want to make this entry about Tecalitlan, Jalisco; my family’s small town in which I spent half my life discovering. Unfortunately, this entry will not touch on Aztec dance, but I hope it gives readers a better idea about my cultural identity and why the study of the Aztecs, thier dance, and Mexico is so important to me.

Traveling to Tecalitlan is about a two-and-a-half hour plane ride. No, the small town with one major road for travelers to enter and immediately exit does not have it’s own airport. The closest official airport is two hours away in Guadalajara. Usually my aunt would take a taxi to Guadalajara to pick me up and the driver would make the two hour treck back to the house. My grandmother built her “retirement” house next to the childhood home they grew up in. My grandmother and her five siblings moved from home to home when she was young, but eventually ended up at this old, yellow, two-story home. I remember living at the old house when I was 3 or 4 and I did not want to go to the kitchen because I would have to walk by the dark, empty rooms. The house made noises all the time, and in Mexico, there are so many stories adults tell to scare kids, I could imagine “la llorona” waiting to scare me as I ran by the rooms. But my grandmother’s house was finally built by the next time I made the trip to stay for another few years. The house is very rare. It doesn’t have a front door, people walk-up to a gate, which leaves nothing to the imagination. The visitors can see everything in the house. As you enter the gated door, there is a big patio area then a few stairs take you to a foyer where you can choose to either take the stairs to the second floor or continue to the kitchen, dining room and den area. Just past the dining room and the bottom floor restroom is another open area containing la “pila”. This is a large ceremic box, per se, with a water knob connected to it. This area is designated to wash dishes and clothes. On the second floor there are four bedrooms and a second bathroom, and another patio area with the gate unlocking to the roof of the next door house to hang newly washed clothes. Just writing about the house takes me back to those days. I remember having to worry about stepping on scorpians. I would always wear shoes because of this fear, I would check the bathroom tub before getting in because that was one of their hidding places. Now thinking about it, I don’t know why I was so scared? The hospital is across the street from my grandmother’s house. How funny!

The following link shows great pictures of the town and it also includes a map. The town is much more populated now than when I last visited, but the pictures show the beauty of its landmarks.

http://www.panoramio.com/photo/16580826

On this map, Tecalitlan is between Guadalajara and Colima:

Map_mexico_volcanoes

I also found the coat of arms for the municipality of Tecalitlan, Jalisco.

tecalitlan1

I found the information about this coat of arms on the following link:

http://aer.jalisco.gob.mx/nuestroedo/Municipios/heraldica/tecalitlan.html

The description of the coat of arms is as follows:

  • The style of the coat is from France and it is cut into a cross shape.
  • The top left quadrant shows two volcanoes; one erupting and the other covered with snow, which signifies the majestic panoramic view of the land.
  • The top right quadrant shows a “charro” playing a harp, and he stands in front of arches significant of colonial architecture.
  • The lower left quadrant shows a Nahuatl symbol, which was recuperated from Spain and indicates the name “Tecalitlan.”
  • The lower right quadrant shows a silhouette of a sugar cane plantation.
  • On top of the four quadrants sits a golden crown with nine points encrusted with emeralds and rubies.
  • All this is over a hawk with its wings extended, its legs open and its tail down. Its head looks sideways and only showing one eye. Where his claws grasp the coat, there are two golden columns with red and green ribbons around them.
  • Over the coat of arms there is a band with the inscription “Tecalitlan Jalisco,” and underneath is the date 1776.

These are just a few memories and facts that can give the reader a better idea of where I come from and who I am.

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“Velada” de La Virgen de Guadalupe

July 12, 2009 at 8:32 pm (Uncategorized)

I found this clip on YouTube. It is again from my family’s hometown of Tecalitlan, Jalisco in Mexico. It shows the “velada” of the Virgin Mary. I was trying to translate the word “velada,” but I cannot come up with a word in English that will describe what happens at this event. It is somewhat similar to a wake, during the burial rites a person goes through after their death. Except a “velada” is in a broader sense so much bigger and ceremonial. The clip starts with cuts of different bands and people dancing and celebrating. At 2:40 there is a small clip of a male danza which is interesting because they are not dressed in the custom Aztec dress. It is a more contemporary Indian dress style. It is also interesting that kids are part of the group. Danza groups usually consist of all adults, all males, all children, or all females. After the danza, the clip is focused on the “velada” with the priest in the background going through the mass. I hope you can see how important music and dance is during this time of celebration and in this culture, which can be originated from the time of the Aztecs. ENJOY!

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