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Norma writes for Selvedge Magazine Issue #109 -- Rise Up, November 2022
Norma Writes for Selvedge Latin Issue #89
What is a Study Tour: Our programs are designed as learning experiences, and as such we talk with weavers 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. Our interest is in creating connection and artisan economic development.
Why We Left, Expat Anthology: Norma’s Personal Essay
Norma Contributes Two Chapters!
- Norma Schafer and Oaxaca Cultural Navigator LLC has offered programs in Mexico since 2006. We have over 30 years of university program development experience. See my resume.
Study Toursd are personally curated and introduce you to Mexico's greatest artisans. They are off-the-beaten path, internationally recognized. We give you access to where people live and work. Yes, it is safe and secure to travel. Groups are limited in size for the most personal experience.
Programs can be scheduled to meet your travel plans. Send us your available dates.
Designers, retailers, wholesalers, universities and other organizations come to us to develop weaving relationships, customized itineraries, study abroad programs, meetings and conferences. It's our pleasure to make arrangements.
Select Clients *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
Tell us how we can put a program together for you! Send an email firstname.lastname@example.org
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- 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
Hot Chocolate and Rosca de Reyes: Post New Year’s Tradition
Last night, after supper under the stars at Samburguesas munching on chile relleno torta and sipping Corona, we piled into the van to visit the godchildren of Dolores and Federico and bring them a rosca. This is a large egg bread ring topped with candied fruits, sugar, and hidden little plastic babies baked inside. Whomever gets the slice with the baby is obliged to offer a fiesta on February 6. This morning I was awakened by a knock on my door at 8:30 a.m. Norma, time for rosca and hot chocolate. I scrambled to get dressed and join the family around the kitchen table for another Zapotec tradition. Dolores had cut the bread in slices for each of us to take a piece. There was a very delicious cup of hot chocolate at my place. I eyed the ring and chose my slice, dipping it into the chocolate and taking a bite, repeating the ritual, as is the custom for eating pan dulce at breakfast. I breathed a quiet sigh of relief. No baby for me. This is a very ancient tradition, Eric says to me earlier in the week as we snacked on rosca at Elsa’s house. I wonder where it originates from.
Postscript: Another supper at Samburguesas. Federico explains the origins of Rosca de Reyes in Spanish and Janet and Omar, his children, translate and add some details they learned in school. This was originally a European custom, they say, and explain that when the baby Jesus was born the three wise men (Kings) assembled from all over the world and walked to the manger. One of the Kings rode a horse, another a camel, another an elephant. One carried gold, another incense and another myrrh to present as gifts to the virgin. The Virgin Mary was afraid and she hid. This is why the little plastic babies are hidden in the bread. In Europe, the bread contained a baby and a wedding ring. The lore recounts that the person who gets the baby will be single all their life and the person who gets the ring will be happily married. When the tradition came to Mexico, only the plastic baby was baked into the bread. The person who gets the baby will get married and give a fiesta on February 2.
The bread is decorated with with red and green candied fruits — the colors of Mexico. Janet and Omar say that they learned this explanation through their study at the village church.
This morning, as I sip choco-cafe in the kitchen before the taxi comes to take me to the airport, Federico cuts me a slice of the delicious rosca, then packages up about half the bread for me to take home to Stephen for new year’s wishes. Buen provecho!
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Posted in Cultural Commentary, Oaxaca Mexico art and culture
Tagged Mexico folklore, Mexico religious tradition, Oaxaca, Rosca de Reyes