Weekend 2: Fiesta Indígena & Palacio Nacional

IIIra Fiesta de las Culturas Indígenas

This fiesta was going on all week, but I could only get to it today! I was amazed at all the people who turned out for the talks, expositions, and food for sale. I didn’t take too many pictures because there was just so much. The main collage shows one of the talks I attended on multiculturalism that is developing in Mexico. I believe that this is at the national level promoted by the ministries of culture and education, so I don’t know if it trickles down to the school level, especially in Mexico City. I’ll have to find out.

I made it a point to visit the expositions in the “Medicina Natural” tent, of course. I saw some of the treatments that we (Healer2Healer.org) trains the rural women in Guatemala. There was incense similar to moxa. Healing massage was going on as well as shamanic healing from the Nahuatl, or other, traditions. I didn’t want to take pictures since patients were actually getting treatment. I’m sure you understand!

My take away from the event was a couple of contacts of publishers and bookstores where I can resource some materials germane to my project. Namely, books in several languages for adolescents (and adolescents at heart!) on stories and fables in the traditions of indigenous cultures in Mexico. I am looking forward to getting a few to include in my project!

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Palacio Nacional

The most striking part of entering the national palace was the simplicity of its grandeur. This is the seat of power in Mexico, but because I visited on Sunday there were only a few tourists roaming around. I loved the maguey plant! There are more pictures in the next section. The small sculpture section was quite nice. I got to see for my own eyes the work of national sculptors. I liked the naked man balancing himself perfectly on one foot on top of a column. Then there is the iron cactus! The two giant balls in front of the admin building were interesting, but I didn’t really find a “meaning” to them. Does there have to be one?

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One of the wings in this immense edifice contains the homage to Benito Juárez, one of the more important presidents in Mexico, the 26th president from 1858-72. Here is a Wiki-link. He was an extremely important president for people apparently because there is a pristine colossal monument on the main street flanking the Alameda Park (where the Palacio de Bellas Artes stands).

Benito Juárez was also the first indigenous president; he was from Oaxaca. He wasn’t that educated growing up, but he was able to become president anyway. According to the museum placards (in the wing of the national palace where he and his family resided and where he died), I read that Juárez (following the trend of leaders of the time) tried to bring in as much European influences into Mexico as possible in order to copy the culture and know-how of the power countries (France, German, England) in order that Mexico become just like Europe. This mentality was carried on with his replacements, including the notoriously famous 29th president Porfirio Días. But more about him later!

These are pictures of the magnificent Maguey and Cactus plants that are symbolic of Mexico and Mexican-ness. In James Michener’s novel “Mexico”, he leads in with a chapter on these two symbiotic plants. I’ll let you read how he weaves them into his novel.

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