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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
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Rosa and Abraham’s Wedding in Teotitlan del Valle: Let’s Party
It’s been a week since Abraham and Rosa got married. With this last and final post about the wedding, I get to relive the day. I hope you enjoy it.
Chapter III: The Wedding Party
Weddings in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca can be grand affairs that include a sumptuous multi-course fiesta dinner complete with music that goes on for hours and this one was no exception. Over 350 people packed into the home courtyard of Abraham’s uncle, a very gracious host.
I’ve been to village weddings where as many as 700 people have been seated and served by a minion of family members and friends who have been cooking, serving and cleaning up for days before and after.
A traditional Teotitlan del Valle wedding can last three days and nights, with lots of dancing, drinking, talking, cooking and eating, continuing long after the bride and groom have left for their miel de luna (honeymoon).
Abraham and Rosa’s wedding was different. The celebration started and ended on the same day. But, I bet the cleaning up part lasted as long!
As soon as we were all seated, guests honored the married couple by presenting their gifts, table by table. Matched sets of dishes, cooking utensils and vessels appeared as did many blenders, perfect for making salsas, soups and fruit juices. As soon as the presentations were completed, dinner was served.
For Rosa and Abraham’s wedding feast, the seated dinner featured consommé de borrego, a rich lamb broth, followed by an entrée of barbecue lamb, salad, rice and noodle salad. The 15 lambs came from Rancho Juarez and brought down the mountain in a truck to where they were slaughtered. They were cooked in cauldrons of spicy tomato broth set into hot coal lined, covered earthen pits. They simmered overnight until they were fall-off-the-bone tender.
The broth was then mixed with cooked corn, peas, garbanzo and green beans, and diced tomatoes served as consommé accompanied by fresh made soft tortillas and a large, crispy pizza-sized tortilla called a tlayuda.
There was plenty of water, chilled hibiscus tea and horchata to drink. There was not the usual bottles of mezcal and cases of beer presented as tribute gifts and then opened for consumption that dominates the usual Mexican wedding parties.
The music was classical, orchestral and easy listening. Without liquor and dancing, no one overindulged, got out of hand, passed out or left early to sleep it off.
Fun happens in other ways. There are games. After dinner, tables are folded and chairs lined up to clear a space in the courtyard center. With the bride on one end and the groom on the other, each standing on a wooden chair, him holding on to the trail of her veil, her grabbing tight onto a pole, it appeared that the goal was to see who would topple off their chair first.
This is not a wedding game I’m familiar with, but it was a lot of fun and we all enjoyed watching what would happen next.
A new game? Body Toss.
Abraham lost his balance, fell off the chair (or was pulled off) …
and got tossed into the air. In case you don’t recognize him, Abraham is the figure with the lavender shirt floating skyward.
Whew, that took a lot of energy from the young men who guaranteed that Abraham would have a night to remember. After the body toss, they needed to rest!
Who’s Getting Married Next?
Time for the throwing of the bride’s bouquet. All the single young women gathered as Rosa tossed her flowers over her head to the assembled group behind her. Good catch, Gloria! You must be next.
Now, it was the groom’s turn to toss the tie to the next lucky man to tie the knot. But, not before a little joking around.
Yes. Bobbing for Apples.
After the bouquet and tie toss, married couples were asked to participate in a game of bobbing for apples. We all got a kick out of which pair could eat through a dangling apple first. It was hard for me to focus with all the moving around.
Let them eat cake! And, they did.
There were four or five tiers of wedding cake, make with pecans and topped with a yummy cream. The grand finale of the day. Abraham and Rosa did what was expected — feed each other cake. Another happy moment to bring a close to an incredible day.
As the bridesmaids unpacked green glazed Atzompa pottery for the bride and groom to give to each guest as a remembrance of the occasion, I thought about what a beautiful and satisfying day this was.
I was especially gratified to be able to capture most of it with photographs that Rosa and Abraham will have for their personal album. Perhaps someday they will show them to their grandchildren and I will be there with them in spirit.
Festivals and Faces: Chiapas Photography Workshop–January 2016
Posted in Cultural Commentary, Food & Recipes, Photography, Teotitlan del Valle, Travel & Tourism, Workshops and Retreats
Tagged ceremony, dinner, food, Mexico, Oaxaca, photographs, reception, recipes, Teotitlan del Valle, traditions, wedding