Oaxaca Festivals: Parade of the Baskets, Teotitlan del Valle 2011

Janet Chavez Santiago with her cousins

Summer is a great time to travel to and explore Oaxaca, Mexico. The famed Parade of the Baskets, or Calenda de las Canastas, begins in the church courtyard on the late afternoon of July 5 and kicks off the five-day patron saint day celebration of Teotitlan del Valle.  It is called Parade of the Canastas because of the heavy baskets the young women carry on their heads in processional throughout the village.

Cousins from Teotitlan del Valle and Arizona, USA

More than 100 young women gather in the church courtyard where the parade begins.  The procession includes the young women, the band, the dancers who have made the three-year commitment for the Dance of the Feather, village leaders, and little boys who have been selected to carry festival banners.

El Danzante de la Pluma

Village band accompanies the procession

All will wind through the streets of the village for about an hour and a half so everyone has a chance to pay homage and tribute.  Men who ignite firecrackers will signal the arrival of the procession along the way.

Procession leaders carry the baskets of patron saint: El Senor Jesucristo with white roses

Festival banners and bamboo poles wave high

The patron saint of Teotitlan del Valle is Preciosa Sangre de Nuestro Señor Jesucristo — Church of Jesus Christ of the Precious Blood.

Carrying the basket requires balance and strength

The baskets are heavy.  It is an honor and commitment for the young women who are selected to carry them.  Frequent stops to rest help immensely!

On July 6, 7, and 9, the Dance of Feather will also take place in the church courtyard, marking the story of the fall of Moctezuma and the conquest of Mexico by Cortes.

Two jesters mock both Cortes and Moctezuma

For an unparalleled photography experience, see Day of the Dead Photography Expedition 2011.  We are accepting registrations now.

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