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Norma Writes for Selvedge Magazine Issues #89 + #109
Creating Connection and Meaning between travelers and with indigenous artisans. Meet makers where they live and work. Join small groups of like-minded explorers. Go deep into remote villages. Gain insights. Support cultural heritage and sustainable traditions ie. hand weaving and natural dyeing. Create value and memories. Enjoy hands-on experiences. Make a difference.
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with makers about how and why they create, what is meaningful to them in their designs, the ancient history of patterning and design, use of color, tradition and innovation, values and cultural continuity, and the social context within which they work. First and foremost, we are educators. Norma worked in top US universities for over 35 years and Eric founded the education department at Oaxaca’s textile museum. We create connection and help artisans reach people who value them and their work.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
We Contribute Two Chapters!
Meet Makers. Make a DifferenceOaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university, textile and artisan development experience. See About Us.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your independent travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, curators, universities and others come to us to develop artisan relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *Abeja Boutique, Houston *Selvedge Magazine-London, UK *Esprit Travel and Tours *Penland School of Crafts *North Carolina State University *WARP Weave a Real Peace *Methodist University *MINNA-Goods *Smockingbird Kids *MINNA *University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Tell us how we can put a program together for you! Send an email email@example.com
- WEAVE Podcast: Oaxaca Coast Textiles & Tour
- NY Times, Weavers Embrace Natural Dye Alternatives
- NY Times, Open Thread–Style News
- NY Times, 36-Hours: Oaxaca, Mexico
- Cooking Classes–El Sabor Zapoteco
- Currency Converter
- Fe y Lola Rugs by Chavez Santiago Family
- Friends of Oaxaca Folk Art
- Hoofing It In Oaxaca Hikes
- Living Textiles of Mexico
- Mexican Indigenous Textiles Project
- Museo Textil de Oaxaca
- Oaxaca Lending Library
- Oaxaca Weather
- Taller Teñido a Mano Natural Dyes
Christmas in Oaxaca: Three Wise Men and Rosca de Reyes
It feels like springtime here in Oaxaca, although we are still celebrating Christmas. Yesterday was downright warm, with temperatures rising to the low 80’s, though nights can be a chilly 45 or 50 degrees. Christmas here is an elaborate and lengthy celebration, starting on December 12 to celebrate the Virgin of Guadalupe and officially ending with Dia de la Candelaria on February 2. The Three Magi, or Wise Men, arrive on January 6, for Day of the Three Kings or Dia de los Tres Reyes.
Celebrated and tasty Rosca de Reyes
You have probably figured out that food motivates me almost as much as textiles. So, this morning I was off again to the wondrous, expansive Sunday tianguis — portable street market — in Tlacolula de Matamoros, ten minutes from where I live. I wanted to see what was in store for food preparations.
Front and center is Rosca de Reyes, a round or oval fruit-studded sweet bread, a traditional delight. Most Oaxaca celebrations are home and family centric, with a children’s gift exchange and a spin the top gambling game with whole nuts. When you go visiting, it is customary to bring a small gift for children and one of these bread loaves.
Tucked inside the loaves are one or several little plastic dolls that symbolize the baby Jesus. Whomever gets one of these dolls embedded in their slice of Rosca is obliged to host a tamale party on Candlemas. Corn and tamales, symbols of sustenance, are interwoven into this and other Mexican celebrations.
Today in the Tlacolula market the bread section was piled high with pan de yema, a sweet egg bread, shaped in the round. The vendors were doing a brisk business. This year, bakers added decoration of sliced, canned peaches to accompany the candied dates, prunes, pineapple bits and cherries.
Live poultry, like guajolotes and chickens, are a big item, too. Add to that roses ($1 USD a dozen), huge papaya (10 cents each), mangoes, melon, strawberries, watermelon, avocado (5 cents each USD), and any number of types of other fresh fruits and vegetables at everyday bargain prices. For those who forget to bring their shopping baskets or buy more than they planned, there are specialty vendors who sell these, too.
I like to arrive at the market by 10 a.m. to take a leisurely stroll through the streets. Before noon, there are not a lot of people and there is no line at the bank ATM located on church side street. Later, it’s packed and it’s like bumper cars with people.
Chicken meatballs in spicy broth at Comedor Mary
Lunch is a special treat at Comedor Mary, located on the opposite side of the church on the street that borders the permanent market. Today’s special was albondigas con pollo — a picante broth with fresh ground and spiced chicken meatballs. Amazingly delicious.
This is the season to come to Oaxaca and stay a while. It is a feast for all your senses. And it is senseless to stay wrapped up in frigid northern weather if you don’t have to! Feliz Año Nuevo.
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Posted in Cultural Commentary, Photography
Tagged Candlemas, Christmas, cost, Day of the Three Kings, Dia de la Candelaria, fruit, Mexico, Oaxaca, Rosca de Reyes, Three Wise Men, tianguis, Tlacolula market, vegetables