Since last writing a blog post on March 26, my husband, sister, son and extended family arrived to celebrate our godson’s wedding on April 6. Semana Santa came and passed. We found ourselves in the middle of Baile de Viejitos–Dance of the Old Men, then multiple trips to the airport to pick-up family members. I took a lot of photographs and planned to post them, but found no time as I guided my loved ones around the city and surrounding villages. It takes time and energy to be a family tour guide, coordinate taxis, and get guest sleeping arrangements ready.
It also takes a lot of energy to party! They really know how to do it up here wedding-style. This wedding, with over 300 guests, was celebrated with a mass at Basilica de Soledad, patron saint of Oaxaca, followed by a fabulous all night dinner dance in the ethnobotanical garden. The beer, wine and mezcal flowed. Floating lanterns ascended to the heavens. Firecrackers announced the newlyweds. As we entered the garden after the legal ceremony, the Teotitlan del Valle band played classical music and continued on during dinner under the stars.
After dinner, the band started the traditional Jarabe del Valle. The padrinos of the wedding had the first dance with the newlyweds. Then, the parents joined in. The rest of us were invited for the general Jarabe. We stomped our hearts out on the dance floor to the Jarabe del Valle, then to cumbia, salsa, and music through the decades starting with the 60’s. I tried to hold out until the 6 a.m. planned end, but a few of us caved in and got into a taxi at 4 a.m.
Being somewhat dazed from lack of sleep and the hazy afterglow of mezcal, I left my wonderful Nikon D7000 camera with 17-55mm lens on the taxi seat. So, I have no wedding photos to show, nor photos of the pre-wedding preparations. I decided not to beat myself up — stuff can always be replaced. Yes, there is a cost, but we are all healthy and content, so that’s what matters most.
On the Sunday after the wedding, with four hours of sleep under our belt, we gathered in the village for more eating, drinking and traditional Jarabe del Valle dancing under the fiesta tent. Handmade tortillas, savory grilled, chicken, amazing kinship. I’ve posted some of these photos on my Facebook page since I still have my iPhone!
My sister and I are leaving Oaxaca tomorrow for a few days in Puebla before flying to San Francisco, where I will visit my 97-year old mother in the Bay Area for a week. I’m returning to Oaxaca this summer, hopefully with another camera. So stay tuned for more to come.