Thursday, July 14, 2011

La Fiesta de San Juan Bautista


I don’t want to start this post with some trite anecdote about Mexicans being festive people. Such declarations reduce a diverse people to base cultural stereotypes. However, I have certainly been involved in a fair few great celebrations as of late. The Fiesta de San Juan Batista in Teotitlan del Valle was certainly one of the most memorable.

A few fridays ago after finishing my day’s work, I headed into the center of Teotitlan to see what was happening. I was greeted with a couple of dozen men on horseback. In the middle of the street, there was a sheep tied to a crossbeam under which the caballeros would pass. As they rode their goal was to lasso the immobilized animal by the head. Whoever managed to lasso the sheep by the head the most times, won the sheep.
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A large number of people from town congregated to watch the contest. Drinks were distributed freely. Soon after arriving several different men, young and old were offering me shots of mescal from communal cups. Pretty quickly, things started to get a little hazy as people were pouring generous amounts of fine mescal made at nearby fincas or in their cuñados backyards.
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As the party progressed, the sheep was lassoed time and time again. I stumbled off to grab dinner and when I returned an hour later, things were still jumping and the mescal was still flowing. The poor sheep was actually taking it pretty well. Eventually, I simply stopped paying attention to the contest and I sat for a second dinner on the square. Men approached me and offered me tepache, beers, and more mescal. I grabbed a plate of tacos to soak up the worrying amount of booze in my system.
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More on these tacos at a later date.

Sometime well late into the evening a man was sitting nearby with a sheep on a leash. I honestly have no idea if this was the same sheep or not, but seeing how he was getting a lot of attention, I decided to join in and take his picture. He was more than happy to pose.
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The whole photo set can be seen here.

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