Why is Cinco de Mayo celebrated and where is it celebrated most? Yes, it’s a great time for a Margarita or swig of Corona, but let’s know the reason we raise our cup on Cinco de Mayo. (Bonus: Shelley’s Margarita recipe below!)
Facts: Cinco de Mayo, first celebrated on May 5, 1862, was the response by Mexican-Americans — mostly Californians — to the French invasion of Mexico, The Battle of Puebla, and fear that the North would lose the Civil War, enslaving those with Mexican heritage along with Blacks throughout the southwest. French Emperor Napoleon III was an ally of the Confederacy and likely to become the first to endorse Southern secession and nationhood.
Backstory: On the cusp of the Civil War between the Union and the Confederacy, California became part of United States in 1848 with the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo. Before that, the Mexican Constitution, as part of its separation from Spain in 1821, guaranteed freedom from slavery and codified that all citizens were equal and free. Becoming part of the United States put that all in question and there was considerable concern among Hispanos that California might become a slave state as the Confederacy asserted its superiority and elitism in Congress, and won early Civil War battles. Other Southwest states that were originally part of New Spain and then Mexico, joined the movement.
Since most of Californian’s were of Mexican descent at that time, there was huge concern. Californios and those throughout the Southwest raised large amounts of financial support to preserve the Union and defeat the Confederacy, in addition to volunteering and sending funds to Mexico to defeat the French. They volunteered to fight for the Union and participated in the Second Battle of Bull Run in Virginia. They had a lot at stake.
So, raise one today for the courage of Mexican-Americans who helped defeat France in the Battle of Puebla, and joined the Union to fight the Confederacy.
Racism, elitism, and anti-democratic movements continue to raise it’s destructive head in the United States of America. History is a way to help us understand how we got here and what we need to do to be vigilant. This is also a study in how Latinos have always been part of the social fabric of our nation and allies in fighting for freedom, deserving of honor and respect.
Now, for the A Su Salud!
Shelley Singleton’s Fresh Margarita Recipe
3/4 C. fresh squeezed lime juice
1/2 C. orange juice
1 C. tequila (or espadin mezcal joven)
1/2 C. Cointreau
Agave syrup to taste
Shake with ice. Serve neat or on the rocks. For a salted rim, rub with lime juice and dip on plate of Kosher salt.
This Friday, May 5, 2023, marks the 161st anniversary of Cinco de Mayo. Why do we celebrate with a Margarita or Corona or Modelo Negro? More than party time, Cinco de Mayo is an important event in U.S. history, and not so much for Mexico. Read on to find out more.
First of all, it’s time to know that May 5, Cinco de Mayo, is NOTMexican Independence Day, which is September 16, 1810, celebrating the separation of Mexico from Spanish rule.
Nevertheless, Cinco de Mayo marks a significant date in history when the French army was defeated in Puebla on May 5, 1862, marking an important symbolic moment to curtail Napoleon Bonaparte’s designs on establishing a monarchy in North America. When you visit Puebla you can still see the bullet holes in front of the house occupied by General Ignacio Zaragoza.
Most of us know Cinco de Mayo as a U.S. celebration of Latino culture. There are 62.1 million Latinos living in the U.S. according to the 2020 census representing 19 percent of the population, making it the nation’s second largest racial or ethnic group according to the Pew Research Center.
Perhaps we know Cinco de Mayo as the name of a favorite local Tex-Mex restaurant, or the promotion of a favorite beverage accompanied by guacamole. (Avocados are imported from Michoacan, Mexico.) At the end of this week, many will of us will welcome the occasion to have a party and raise a toast to our southern neighbor with a beer or Margarita. What are you doing for Happy Hour on May 5?
But there’s much more to it than that, according to historian David Hayes-Bautista, as reported by CNN and Reza Gostar in GlendoraPatch. It notable that Cinco de Mayo was a rallying cry in the U.S. by Latinos against the elitist French monarchy, which was sympathetic to the Confederacy during the Civil War. At that time, Latinos sided with the Union, fearing that a Confederacy win would expand slavery to include them. If Blacks could be enslaved, so could brown and indigenous people, too.
Puebla is Angelopolis, City of Angels
Dr. Hayes-Bautista, who is director of UCLA’s Center for the Study of Latino Health and Culture, has uncovered the first groundbreaking research that links the celebration of liberation for Mexicans with the U.S. Civil War and the hope that the Union would prevail. The win at the Battle of Puebla by the Mexican freedom fighters against the elitists energized many Americans early in the war when the Confederacy was powerful. This was especially significant for Latinos, since much of the American Southwest was populated by those with Spanish and Mexican heritage.
So, as you raise your glass with a hearty Salud, recall that Latinos volunteered to serve in the Union Army in order to preserve freedom, independence, and fight for racial justice.
Watch this YouTube video to know more about Cinco de Mayo as told by Dr. David Hayes-Bautista.
Quick footnote: I’m recovering from surgery at University of New Mexico Medical Center and in Albuquerque with my son and daughter-in-law. All went well. No pain. No opioids. Amazing surgical team. No worries. I’m hoping to go home to Taos this weekend. The kids are going out for Cinco de Mayo. I’ll be here, resting! My surgeon is Latina as is her medical resident. We’ve come a long way, but not far enough!
Scott Roth and I have been friends for about 15 years. I met him a few years after I first arrived in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca, in 2005. Scott is a legend. He is one of the early adventurers who identified the weaving talent in the village, and intuited that blankets and rugs could be repurposed into beautiful floor rugs with just a few modifications. He began working with a few weavers on designs and dyes for export to the USA to meet the nascent interest in what became known as Southwest Style. I want to tell his story, because it is an important part of the history of what Oaxaca is today. I’ll be publishing his writing in segments along with his photos.
1970’s Transition from Wearable Serapes to Floor Rugs
These are Scott’s words!
I first visited the village in January 1974, and returned in August and November that year to continue investing in their two-piece blankets (serapes) and wall hangings. At the time, there was only one man, Ismael Gutierrez, making textiles we would consider rugs today, with the tightness of weave that we find suitable for heavy foot traffic.
Above: Blanket, Scott Roth Collection, era 1974
The big surge of popularity of these weavings was just around the bend, when the Southwest design trend came on strong in 1980. In 1974, there were only two other Americans regularly coming to Teotitlan as exporters, but shortly thereafter ten fellow hippy boomers discovered the village, and found a way, like myself, to fund a romantically adventurous lifestyle.
Above Left: Flor de Oaxaca. Above Right: Escher tapestry
As is now in Teotitlan del Valle, most households strived to become financially independent, creating for the marketplace a unique wool textile through design, size, function and color palette. There was a wide range of images displayed by Teotitecos at the weekly Sunday Tlacolula Market, and also at Saturday’s market in Oaxaca city, which was a block from the Zocalo, on the streets facing the Benito Juarez Market.
Above: Aztec Calendar, 1930’s
In 1974, some of the prominent themes depicted in the tapestry weaving were based on the 1910-1920 Mexican Revolution, during which time greater civil rights and land reforms uplifted indigenous groups. These themes included figures from pre-Hispanic carvings of anthropomorphic gods and the very popular rendering of the stone-carved Aztec Calendar. These themes originated in the 1930’s and remained well into the 1970’s. Weavers of this era learned from their grandfathers who were the serape makers during the mid-1800’s when colonial period Saltillo-style serapes were in vogue throughout Mexico. A pattern from that pre-Revolution era, named Flor de Oaxaca, was the singular most popular design for the 5′ x 6-1/2′ two-piece serapes in 1975. It was a simplified version which fit in with mid-century modernist aesthetic.
Above: Saltillo-style serape, Flor de Oaxaca design, Teotitlan del Valle
Early 20th century European modern art readily translated to tapestries, with many interpretations of Miro, Picasso, M.C. Escher, and Matisse found alongside pre-Columbian figures. Isaac Vasquez (who died in 2022) told me how he wove commissioned tapestries for Rufino Tamayo, at the time Mexico’s most famous living artist. In the early sixties, Tamayo brought along his good friend from Paris, Pablo Picasso. Picasso drew for Isaac a simple design of fish stacked in opposing directions like canned sardines. The design, Pescados Modernas, became one of the village’s most enduring best sellers.
Above: Picasso’s fish interpreted for Teotitlan del Valle tapestries
Above: Matisse tapestry, Teotitlan del Valle, 1970’s
Pre-Hispanic figures from two books by Mexican anthropologist/designer Jorge Enciso, called escaletos, were the subject of favored small wall hangings, in black and white wool. If you know the 1980’s New York City pop artist Keith Haring, you know the power of tightly balanced positive and negative figurative work. I suspect Haring was influenced by the pre-Hispanic figures in Teotitlán’s Escaleto tapestries.
Above: Jose Enciso designs replicated in Teotitlan weaving
There was a remarkable contrast between the bare minimum of material goods in any household and the highly spirited social exchanges one observed on the street. Everyone slept on the dirt floor of their one-room adobe house, unrolling a petate every night. There was only one car in town, no running water or plumbing, no paved streets, most women over age 50 went barefoot, and people over 40 had a very limited grasp of Spanish. Electricity had arrived in 1965, but was used minimally. I enjoyed visiting two households in which one weaver would, unaccompanied, sing songs for hours while he and other family members continued working on their looms. A lively and cheery work environment! A few years later the Teotitecos could afford cassette stereos, and this tradition of singing disappeared.
Above: 1950’s-60’s Modernist home with Flor de Oaxaca rug on the floor
The next post will cover the decade of the 1980’s, when everything changed materially. In retrospect, I observed in the 1970’s that much of the Zapotec lifestyle here had been as it was through the colonial period. A good, but hard to find, anthropological study of the value system of the Oaxaca Valley Zapotecs was published in the late sixties titled Zapotec Deviance. It contains insights as to what has helped maintain their cultural identity and sustainability this last half century.
Norma’s Note: I’ve lightly edited Scott’s narrative and photos, and inserted a few more details, like the recent death of Isaac Vasquez, innovative master weaver. Also of note, the colorful rugs shown here were made with churro sheep wool and chemical (synthetic) dyes, popular at the time, because they were cheap and easy to use. Before the industrial revolution in the mid-1800’s, serapes here were either made from the natural sheep wool (blacks, grays, beige, white, brown) or with natural dyes from local plant sources (cochineal, indigo, wild marigold, tree bark).
Above: This is master weaver Adrian Montaño from Teotitlan del Valle. He wove a vintage Covarrubias design in the 1960’s that I purchased in 2020. It hangs in my Teotitlan del Valle casita. Other examples from that era are included, and woven by him. The last photos is a traditional design created by Eric Chavez Santiago’s great grandfather Venustiano, popularized throughout the village. All in natural sheep wool.
October 29 to November 4, 2022—6 nights and 7 days— $2,895 for a shared room and $3,495 for a single room. We have 3 single rooms and 4 shared rooms available.
Day of the Dead in Oaxaca, Mexico, is meaningful and magical. Celebrations in the villages go deep into Zapotec culture, community, tradition and pre-Hispanic practice. Some say it is the most important annual celebration in Mexico and here in Oaxaca, we know this is true. This tour is limited to 10 participants.
At Oaxaca Cultural Navigator, we hope to give you an unparalleled and in-depth travel experience to participate and delve deeply into indigenous culture, folk art and celebrations.
Beyond the city, in the Tlacolula Valley, many smaller villages are still able to retain their traditional practices. Here they build altars at home, light copal incense, make offerings of homemade chocolate, bread and atole, prepare a special meal of tamales, and visit the homes of relatives to greet deceased ancestors who have returned for this 24-hour period. Then, at the designated hour, the living go to the cemeteries to be with their loved ones — either to welcome them back into the world or put them to rest after their visit here – the practice depends on each village.
You will learn about this and more as you come with us to meet artisans in three different villages beyond Oaxaca city who welcome us into their homes and their lives during this sacred festival.
Study Tour Highlights:
Visit homes, altars and cemeteries in three Zapotec villages: Teotitlan del Valle, San Pablo Villa de Mitla, and San Marcos Tlapazola
Participate in presenting altar offerings at each home we visit
As a group, build a traditional altar to remember and honor your own loved ones
Learn to make homemade chocolate with the Mexican cacao bean
See a tamale-making demonstration and taste what is prepared
Shop for altar décor at the largest Teotitlan del Valle market of the year
Learn how mezcal is an integral part of festival culture and tradition
We created this study tour to take you out of the city, beyond the hubbub of party revelry and glitz of a Halloween-like experience that has morphed into a Hollywood-style extravaganza in downtown Oaxaca. We will compare how city celebrations complete with costumes and face painting differ from those in villages even as outside influences impact change. Our desire is to give you a full immersion experience that evokes what Day of the Dead may have been like 20 or 30 years ago–mystical, magical, transcendent and spiritual.
Even so, cultural tourism has found its way into the back roads of Oaxaca. We do our best to be respectful by limiting the size of our group to 10 participants, to give you an orientation about to what to expect and do during our visits, and to offer you an intimate, personal experience.
We give you an insider’s view. You have the guidance of local expert Eric Chavez Santiago who will lead this cultural tour. Eric is a partner in Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC.
Eric Chavez Santiago is an expert in Oaxaca and Mexican folk art with a special interest in artisan economic development. He is a weaver and natural dyer by training, a fourth generation member of the Fe y Lola rug weaving family, who was born and raised in Teotitlan del Valle. He has intimate knowledge of local traditions and customs, speaks the indigenous Zapotec language, and serves as your cultural navigator.
Eric is a graduate of the Anahuac University, and speaks English and Spanish. He can translate language, culture and traditions, tell you about practices in his extended family and how they have experienced the changes over time.
Moreover, he is deeply connected and will introduce you to some of the finest artisans in the region, where you will meet weavers, natural dyers, ceramic artists, and traditional cooks. You will have an opportunity to see artisan craft demonstrations and to shop for your own collection or for gifts, as you wish.
We will be based in a comfortable Bed and Breakfast establishment one block from the market in Teotitlan del Valle for our time together. (You might decide to arrive early and stay a few nights in the city or extend your trip to be in the city afterward.)
Saturday, October 29: Arrive in Oaxaca and travel to Teotitlan del Valle. Check in to a highly-rated, locally owned bed and breakfast inn. Snack box available for arrivals after 8 p.m.
Sunday, October 30: During our breakfast orientation, we discuss how Day of the Dead is celebrated in the villages and then go on a walking tour that includes the village market, church, archeological site, and cultural center. Today you will also visit the homes and studios of rug weavers, candle makers, and silk weavers talking with them about their own family observances. Overnight in Teotitlan del Valle. (Includes breakfast and welcome dinner)
Monday, October 31: After breakfast, walk to the Teotitlan del Valle market to shop for altar decorations to later build a group altar. Bring photos of those you want to remember! Then, we will venture out into the countryside to visit the Zapotec village of San Marcos Tlapazola to meet artisans and discuss their family Dia de los Muertos traditions. You will see demonstrations of red clay pottery and have a chance to buy if you wish. We will come prepared with altar gifts of chocolate and bread to present to the difuntos. On the road, we will stop at a traditional comedor for lunch (at your own expense). We finish the day with a mezcal tour and tasting in Santiago Matatlan, mezcal capital of the world. Mezcal is an integral part of Zapotec celebrations and we will see why. (B, D)
Monday, November 1: After breakfast, travel to San Pablo Villa de Mitla to meet a noted weaver artisan who will take us to their family gravesite at the village cemetery and talk about history and traditions. Visit a home where a traditional altar tells the story of ancient Zapotec culture. Our hosts will explain the ancient, pre-Hispanic altar offerings and go deep into the meaning of Muertos here in Oaxaca. You will bring your offering of chocolate and bread to put on their altar to honor our host’s ancestors. We will spend the day with this family and enjoy a very special lunch that they have prepared in our honor. – Para todo mal, mezcal. Para todo bien, tambien. (B, D)
Tuesday, November 2: After breakfast, we will visit the Teotitlan del Valle cemetery to see preparations being made to honor dead loved ones: cleaning and decorating the graves. Then we will spend the afternoon in the courtyard of a traditional cook, who shows us how to make hot chocolate and tamales with mole amarillo. We’ll have late lunch there and then accompany her to the cemetery while she sits with her loved ones as they return to the underworld. After the cemetery, you will enjoy a before bedtime snack and discuss how participating in Day of the Dead has had an impact on you. Compare and contrast this experience with USA and Canadian experiences with death and dying. (B, L, D)
Wednesday, November 3: After breakfast, we will arrange for any laboratory tests (at your own expense) required to re-enter the USA. Then, we will hold an EXPOVENTA to showcase the work of outstanding weavers representing various villages throughout Oaxaca state, including San Juan Colorado, Triqui, and San Mateo del Mar, and San Pedro Cajones. The rest of the afternoon is on your own. You can arrange a taxi to take you to the city, to neighboring villages or archeological sites. We will enjoy a final goodbye supper before you depart. (B, D)
Thursday, November 4: Departure. We will help you arrange a taxi (at your own expense) to the airport or you may choose to stay on in Oaxaca or visit another part of Mexico. (B) Hasta la proxima!
Itinerary subject to change based on scheduling and availability.
What Is Included
6 breakfasts, 2 lunches, 5 dinners
6 nights lodging at a charming B&B hotel in Teotitlan del Valle
museum and church entry fees
luxury van transportation
outstanding and complete guide services
the cultural experience of a lifetime
What is NOT Included
The program does NOT include airfare, taxes, tips, travel insurance, liquor or alcoholic beverages, some meals, and local transportation as specified in the itinerary. We reserve the right to substitute instructors and alter the program as needed.
Cost • $2,895 double room with private bath (sleeps 2) • $3,495 single room with private bath (sleeps 1)
Reservations and Cancellations. A $500 non-refundable deposit is required to guarantee your spot. The balance is due in two equal payments. The second payment of 50% of the balance is due on or before June 15, 2022. The third payment is due on or before September 1, 2022. We accept payment using online e-commerce only. We will send you an itemized invoice when you tell us you are ready to register. After September 1, 2022, there are no refunds. If you cancel on or before September 1, 2022, we will refund 50% of your deposit received to date less the $500 non-refundable deposit. After that, there are no refunds. If we cancel for whatever reason, you will receive a full refund.
The tour and COVID-19: You are required to be FULLY VACCINATED to participate. You must send Proof of Vaccination (this includes all boosters) by email on or before June 15, 2022. You can take a photo of the documentation and forward it to us. All participants are required to wear N95 OR KN95 face masks, use hand-sanitizer and practice social distancing while together. We will sanitize vans and keep the windows open when traveling together. Please note: You MUST also provide proof of international travel insurance including $50,000 of emergency medical evacuation coverage.
Tell us if you want a shared/double room or a private/single room. We will send you an e-commerce invoice by email that is due on receipt.
Who Should Attend • Anyone interested in indigenous culture and creativity, who wants a deep immersion experience into Day of the Dead practices and traditions, and who appreciates artisan craft — weaving, embroidery, pottery. If you are a collector, come with us to go deep and find the best artisans. If you are a photographer or artist, come with us for inspiration. If you are an online retailer, come with us to find the stories to market what you sell.
All documentation for plane reservations, required travel insurance, and personal health issues must be received 45 days before the program start or we reserve the right to cancel your registration without reimbursement.
Terrain, Walking and Group Courtesy: Oaxaca and surrounding villages are colonial and pre-Hispanic. The altitude is close to 6,000 feet. Many streets and sidewalks are cobblestones, narrow and uneven. We will do a lot of walking. We recommend you bring a walking stick and wear study shoes.
If you have mobility issues or health/breathing impediments or you are immunocompromised, please consider that this may not be the study tour for you.
Traveling with a small group has its advantages and also means that independent travelers will need to make accommodations to group needs and schedule. We include free time to go off on your own if you wish.
In a week, I climb on the magic bird to carry me back to Oaxaca. It’s been a year-and-a-half since I left, just before Covid became a pandemic in March 2021 that erased all our plans and created this hunker-down-for-a-while, I’m scared mentality. Yesterday, I got my third jab, the Pfizer-BioNTech booster, plus a flu shot. I’m ready, face masks and sanitizer in the packing pile. Back to Teotitlan del Valle where churro sheep wool is carded and dyed to weave into rugs.
Churro sheep came to the Americas with the Spanish conquest. We find this breed in Northern New Mexico and Colorado, where the high altitudes are conducive to growing a thick pelt. When it is shorn, carded and woven, it makes thick, sturdy, resilient blankets (for humans and horses), and later adapted to the making of floor rugs.
My adopted Zapotec family in Teotitlan del Valle, Galeria Fe y Lola, buy their handspun Churro wool from Chichicapam and the Mixteca, where 7,000 feet altitude guarantees a higher quality pelt. This elevation is similar to the Mountain States where livestock growers, spinners and dyers work in this wool to textile weavers who use the ancient European treadle loom that was also introduced by the Spanish in the New World.
This sheep is descended from the Iberian Churra, prized by the Spanish for its hardiness and adaptability. It was the first breed of sheep domesticated in the New World in the 16th Century, when it was used to feed and clothe the armies of the conquistadores, clergy and settlers. We can trace the lineage to 1494 when Spain established colonies in the Caribbean and Mexico. There were no four-legged animals in North America and only llamas in South America before the Spanish arrived.
Carolyn wrote to me to add this:
How the Spanish brought sheep to America? In slings in the holds of their ships! Several years ago a replica of the Santa Maria sailed into the Oakland estuary and docked for several days. We were able to tour the ship and the sailors were more than happy to answer our questions. Four legged animals were kept in slings so their legs would not break in rough weather. The smell must have been atrocious. But the image stuck with me.I’m happy for you that you finally get to go back to Oaxaca.
Taos is host to the annual Wool Festival, now in its 38th year, and always held the first weekend in October. I made it a point to attend. Fiber art and textiles call to me here, too. Why was I surprised to see rugs woven on the peddle loom using churro sheep wool? I shouldn’t have been. I know the Navajo were resourceful in growing their herds of churro sheep, and all those beautiful blankets and rugs trace their origins to the Spanish introduction of this breed.
Today, non-native weavers use this breed, too, to make and sell beautiful rugs. I saw plenty of them at the festival, many reminiscent of Zapotec and Navajo textiles. Over the years, the churro has been cross-bred with the softer, finer merino sheep. Sometimes, churro and merino are also spun together to give a silkier, softer luster.
When I first moved here to Taos, NM, four months ago, one of the first things I did was join the Millicent Rogers Museum. It has an extensive collection of Native American folk art and craft, including early Navajo looms and textiles. This loom is more similar to the back strap loom, used as a vertical frame loom. This got me thinking about how technology is adapted to the user. It´s not a floor loom and it´s not a back strap loom. Weavers sit on the ground to weave.
History of Navajo Weaving. Some scholars speculate that the Navajo picked up this weaving technique in the 1600´s from nearby Pueblo tribes who were adept using the vertical loom. It couldńt be used to weave a textile wider than 18 inches. Larger pieces needed two identical textiles that were then stitched together. We find thesame circumstance in Oaxaca, Mexico.
In Teotitlan del Valle, the floor loom has hardly changed from when it was introduced there by the Spanish in the 1500´s, who taught the local men to weave in the tradition of the European tapestry loom. It was too heavy and cumbersome for women, who were versatile cotton back strap loom weavers, to use.
Last week I wrote about pronunciations and mis-pronunciations. Here we have another one! Settlers had a difficult time saying Churra Sheep so they said Churro instead. And, that’s how we know this breed today!
Norma Writes for Selvedge Magazine Issues #89 + #109
Creating Connectionand 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
Norma contributes personal essay, How Oaxaca Became Home
We Contribute Two Chapters!
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Meet Makers. Make a Difference
Oaxaca 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 *University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
October 27, 2023: Day of the Dead Ocotlan Highway Tour. It’s Market Day! The biggest of the year. See special altar food and decor, visit artisans, explore culture, eat at a traditional open air cocina de humo (grill kitchen). SOLD OUT.
October 29, 2023: Teotitlan del Valle Altars and Studio Visits to natural dye and weaving artisans who invite you to their altar rooms to share family traditions. Meet a traditional beeswax candlemaker. Eat mole and mezcal in a local family comedor. 6 SPACES OPEN.
Oaxaca has the largest and most diverse textile culture in Mexico! Learn about it.
When you visit Oaxaca immerse yourself in our textile culture: How is indigenous clothing made, what is the best value, most economical, finest available. Suitable for adults only. Set your own dates.
One-Day Custom Tours: Tell Us When You Want to Go!
New--Ruta del Mezcal One-Day Tour.We start the day with pottery, visiting a master, then have lunch with a Traditional Oaxaca Cook who is the master of mole making. In Mitla, we meet with our favorite flying shuttle loom weaver, and then finish off with a mezcal tasting at a palenque you will NEVER find on your own! Schedule at your convenience!
January 13-21, 2024: Oaxaca Coast Textile Study Tour. Very popular! Get your deposit in to reserve. For intrepid travelers. Visit 7 back-strap loom weavers. Explore the culture of cloth and community. SOLD OUT!
March 28-April 3:Screenwriting for Film + Television with Harry Werksman, Golden Globe award winning writer. Develop character, plot, scene. Learn what it takes to pitch a story. Take your ideas from concept to delivery. NEW!
We require 48-hour advance notice for map orders to be processed. We send a printable map via email PDF after your order is received. Please be sure to send your email address. Where to see natural dyed rugs in Teotitlan del Valle and layout of the Sunday Tlacolula Market, with favorite eating, shopping, ATMs. Click Here to Buy Map After you click, be sure to check PayPal to ensure your email address isn't hidden from us. We fulfill each map order personally. It is not automatic.
Dye Master Dolores Santiago Arrellanas with son Omar Chavez Santiago, weaver and dyer, Fey y Lola Rugs, Teotitlan del Valle