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. What we call a three-day-weekend, in Puerto Vallarta is referred to as a puente, which means bridge in Spanish. It basically stands for an extra day for travel and/or recovery from revelry.
Parties aren’t new. Evidence has proven that Aztecs were early party animals with emphasis on fertility and asking favors of the Pre-Hispanic gods, which now are passed off as Catholic saints.
In February, Puerto Vallarta will hold a Mardi Gras parade, currently growing into one of the largest of its kind in Mexico. Costumes will be joyfully created and very elaborate with the majority of 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. Hence the festival name, Parachico (for the boy).
Charreria, very popular in Puerto Vallarta, is considered the national sport of Mexico, not futbal (soccer) as many tourists assume. Rancheros (ranch hands) of old hacienda days, began this tradition as entertainment/competition when they were given time off. 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.
The grand party of Cinco de Mayo, recognized 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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