Mazatecs: Huautla de Jiménez and the Meanings of Color

Huautla de Jiménez

Guelaguetza Festival 2023 (2023) by Secretaría de las Culturas y Artes de OaxacaSecretaría de las Culturas y Artes de Oaxaca

Guelaguetza

The Guelaguetza festival is held in the capital of Oaxaca on the "Mondays of the Hill" in July.

This celebration brings together the different ethnic groups and mestizo cultures of the regions of Oaxaca to share their dances, traditions, and gastronomy with locals and visitors. Learn about them!

Mazatecs – Huautla de Jimenez (2023) by Secretaría de las Culturas y Artes de OaxacaSecretaría de las Culturas y Artes de Oaxaca

Mazatecs (Huautla de Jiménez)

The Mazatec ethnic group lives surrounded by imposing landscapes, deep canyons, and mountains that kiss the sky and shroud the fog.

It is a land of fishermen, farmers, embroiderers, and shamans.

Mazatecs – Huautla de Jimenez (2023) by Secretaría de las Culturas y Artes de OaxacaSecretaría de las Culturas y Artes de Oaxaca

The huipil has evolved throughout history. Its preparation takes from two months to one year depending on the complexity of the design. 

It is made of hand-embroidered industrial cotton and adorned with slats and lace. 

Mazatecs – Huautla de Jimenez (2023) by Secretaría de las Culturas y Artes de OaxacaSecretaría de las Culturas y Artes de Oaxaca

The textile relates a story and a landscape.

The turquoise blue ribbons represent the sky and the ones in Mexican pink symbolize the fruit of the coffee that is grown in the region.

The pink olan on the sleeves represents the beauty of the Mazatec woman.

Flowers and birds are usually depicted in the embroideries.

Mazatecs – Huautla de Jimenez (2023) by Secretaría de las Culturas y Artes de OaxacaSecretaría de las Culturas y Artes de Oaxaca

The first seven ribbons symbolize the days of the week; the following nine ribbons symbolize the nine months of the woman's gestation.

Although this history existed in the community, its diffusion and complexity has been built around the Guelaguetza. 

Mazatecs – Huautla de Jimenez (2023) by Secretaría de las Culturas y Artes de OaxacaSecretaría de las Culturas y Artes de Oaxaca

Traditional medicine and rituals are practiced in sacred places such as the hill of worship and the Rabón. At these sites they perform rituals of prosperity and fertility.

Mazatecs – Huautla de Jimenez (2023) by Secretaría de las Culturas y Artes de OaxacaSecretaría de las Culturas y Artes de Oaxaca

Couples often dance the Mazatec sones, which are part of the cultural heritage that has prevailed over time and are an elementary part of ceremonies and rituals such as weddings. 

Mazatecs – Huautla de Jimenez (2023) by Secretaría de las Culturas y Artes de OaxacaSecretaría de las Culturas y Artes de Oaxaca

The Mazatec ethnic group lives immersed in culture and mysticism. Plants have a central role in life, and they attribute different properties to them. Coffee production is the basis of their economy. 

Mazatecos – Huautla de Jiménez (2023)Secretaría de las Culturas y Artes de Oaxaca

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