Es así como las Calendas marcan el inicio de las fiestas patronales en los Valles Centrales de Oaxaca. Es el anuncio a los cuatro vientos y, a la vez, una invitación abierta para unirse a la fiesta.
Ya de regresó al atrio la gente comenzó a retirarse rumbo a sus casa y así esperar los eventos programados para los días siguientes.
There was Rosario with two other girls checking some details on one of the hundreds of decorated baskets, at that time, there were not too many people around, I got to Teotitlán del Valle (Oaxaca) with an hour in advance so I could look around and get to see the setout for the celebration. I noticed that Rosario had a different accent and while we were talking she gave me the answer, sh was born and raised in Chicago where her parents migrated, now they moved back not long ago and she decided to came to visit during the Nativity Virgin yearly festivity and of course spend some family time.
We all went out to the church’s atrium were the people starter to gather all dressed up with their traditional costumes ready to be part of that day celebration, It was easily to recognize the organizers, they were walking fast trying to set everything and telling all the participants their positions so the ‘calenda’ could start.
The women with those large baskets and the dancers made a quick line, musicians were getting on their position as well while doing last minute tuning. Suddenly without a prior noticed the trumped that was behind me started to play, of course it took me by surprise and made me jump, some people noticed it, we laughed together. They all initiated to walk and the lines were quite large, I could barely see its ending, I followed the whole procession through the street that lasted little bit more than an hour, music and fireworks were announcing the location so people at their houses could come out and join.
Once they all got back to the atrium they started to leave some others stayed there longer, that was the way to announce the start of the town’s celebration that would continue during the following days.
As you could read, ‘calendas’ are a festive street procession usually with a band, people dancing and firecrackers and they are held as part of the celebrations of a patron saint of a tow. Traditionally it was the way the beginning of a party was announced and people were invited to join in.
Oaxaca’s rich culture derives from the mingling of the ancient traditions of its vibrant indigenous people with Spanish colonial customs. Each town or village adds its distinctive touch to celebrations and fiestas throughout the year.