Huautla de Jimenez: a magic town among the clouds of Oaxaca’s Sierra Mazateca (VIDEO)


Huautla de Jiménez, town among the clouds and home of the Mazatecs, who invite you to participate of their millenary traditions. Live the experience of knowing their language, songs, dances and traditional medicine, inheritance of the famous María Sabina, Priestess of mushrooms, also meet Mamá Julia, one of the 13 grandmothers of the world, heiress of this ancestral knowledge.

Huautla de Jiménez is a municipality belonging to the district of Teotitlán in the region of the Mazatec Cañada of the state of Oaxaca, is a rural-urban city, because it has a population of 68,555 inhabitants in the municipality and 53,999 in the city, and rural due to its scarce development in urban infrastructure, Huautla de Jiménez is the tenth largest population of the state of Oaxaca.

The word Huautla, comes from the náhuatl term that in the splendor of the Azteca lordship, Cuitláhuac will call Cuiticaname – Huautlan, which etymologically means “Place of the Eagles”; “de Jiménez”, in honor to General Mariano Jiménez, who visits the region in 1864. On December 14, 1926, by decree No. 55, Huautla de Jiménez obtains the title of City. 

This indigenous culture has a set of symbols, characters, explanation of origin, sacred hills, rituals, calendar, clothing, music, caves, among others; around which is built an identity that distinguish them, a way of seeing, conceiving and interpreting the world, as recognized by the Declaration of the United Nations about the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

Huautla de Jiménez offers its visitors the exuberance of its natural environment, its people always present a warm, friendly treatment, open to share customs and traditions of great roots, historical and cultural richness, a unique cuisine, to which sum, as a symbol indisputable, unique and irreplaceable, the Priestess María Sabina.

Among the important historical monuments, Huautla de Jiménez, has the Clock Tower, located in front of the Municipal Palace, which is believed to have been built approximately in 1924. In 1916 the building that provided the service of municipal jail and military barracks during several years was built, same that nowadays is occupied by the different workshops of the house of the culture, besides the update center of the magisterio.

In 1960 begins the construction of the Municipal Palace and after this year modifications and extensions are made for a period of 39 years. For 1999, the reconstruction begins, concluding this colossal work on December 30, 2000.

There is only one Church in Huautla, built in 1766, in honor to San Juan Evangelista, and the most important celebrations are: The festivity of “El Señor de las tres caídas”, that is celebrated the third Friday of lent; the eve is announced with music and fireworks, to continue with a solemn procession that runs through the main streets of the town, carrying the religious image; during the course of the week sociocultural activities supported by different institutions are carried out.

Recently the festivity of the “Virgen de la Natividad” has been celebrated on September 7 and 8 and the “Virgen de Santa María Juquila between December 7 and 8, besides that, traditionally, each December 12 the “Virgen de Guadalupe” is celebrated, for which pilgrimages from several surrounding communities reach the church of the town.

Music is another aspect that should be mentioned; stand out the traditional songs which survive in their indigenous form, the denominated “Sones Mazatecos”, “Flor de piña”, “El Anillo de Oro”, “La Flor de Lis” and “La Paloma”, which grouped form the so-called “Naxo Loxa” or “Flor de naranjo”.

The instruments used to play this song are a saxophone, snare, a setback, a trumpet, a guiro and a cylinder; the verses expressed with genuine love “Naxo Loxa” (Flor de Naranjo) were composed by the Mazatec writer José Guadalupe García Parra. 

In what refers to their customs and traditions, the Mazatecos, a name with is also known the people of Huautla, which means “people of deer”, they celebrate the “Day of the Dead” disguising themselves with masks of different figures, the group of people who disguises themselves and dances to the beat of music, are known as Huehuentones. 

The celebration begins on October 27 with a conquest of songs in mazatec language, related with the occasion, rewarding the best composition.  The same day, at night, all the groups of huehuentones go to the municipal cemetery to communicate to the deceased that this dance is going to start and return to dance from house to house of the town. 

All the festivities end on November 4, that day the piñatas that were donated by each house where the huehuentones danced are broken. It should be noted that the municipal authority convenes an annual gathering of Huehuentones with the participation of approximately thirty groups, achieving an atmosphere of harmony and reaffirming the brotherhood among the Mazatecs.

Source: Youtube

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