The Spanish word for bridge is puente and in Puerto Vallarta, as in all of Mexico, that means “time to party.” A puente is a bridge that carries you from one ordinary week into another, with good times in between. An extra day for travel or recovery makes for three and four day vacations. Mexicans love a party and celebrate at any opportunity. Merriment, good food, drink, song, all ages dancing and a school holiday thrown in make a perfect combination.
Aztecs started the tradition of fiesta long ago with focus on the importance of fertility and asking favors of the Pre-Hispanic gods, which now are passed off to Catholic saints.
Puerto Vallarta has her own Mardi Gras parade, currently growing into one of the largest of its kind in Mexico. Costumes will be joyfully created, very elaborate and in Puerto Vallarta, you can guarantee many men dressed as women. It cannot, however, rival that of the Parachico parade in Chiapas, which takes place for several days in the month of January. The men dress as women not only for the parade but take to the streets, masquerading day and night, supposedly in honor of a legendary mother who gave a feast to thank the healer who saved her sick boy. The festival name, Parachico (for the boy) gives credence to the men and the women they love to imitate.
Though most people think futbal (soccer) is the national sport of Mexico, it is actually Charreria, very popular in Puerto Vallarta. Rancheros (ranch hands) of old hacienda days, began this tradition as a competition during the periods of time they were not working. Roping, cattle handling and horse riding expertise turned into highly skilled contests and along with it, a complete new form of attire was born. Along with charreadas came mariachi, the music of the charreria. No Mexican fiesta is complete without traditional music. The musicians dress in the same outfits are the charros (cowboys) and it is not unusual to see a trumpeter put down his horn and jump on a horse, showing expert talents in two arenas.
The most famous of all Mexican fiestas is Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) and Puerto Vallarta is no exception. For several days at the end of October and beginning of November, shrines are constructed, elaborate or simple, in homes, stores, hotel and bank lobbies, on the street. The dead are remember with sadness and joy and offerings of their favorite food, drink and activities. It is a festival represented by religion, paganism and mysticism. Cemeteries become merry, vibrant places where music, culture, food, drink and happiness are the order of the day.
Cinco de Mayo, the Mexican holiday observed throughout the United States and Canada, is not celebrated in Mexico at all!
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Thanks to our guest blogger Adam Garcia for this article!
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