¡VIVA MEXICO! It’s a shout probably heard often by our neighbors to the south. It’s also the name of a popular annual event, now in its 5th year at El Rancho de los Golondrinas in Santa Fe. The living history museum tells the story of Spanish Colonial New Mexico from the arrival of the Spanish until statehood 100 years ago.
On Saturday, July 21st and Sunday, July 22nd, it will be transformed into a Mexican carnival, aptly named, ¡CARNAVAL! The event, a collaboration of Las Golondrinas and the Mexican Consulate in Albuquerque, runs from 10am to 5pm both days. The Mexican Consul, Mauricio Ibarra Ponce de León, is an enthusiastic supporter of the event. “It gives us the opportunity to share the good things of Mexico,” he said at the event’s press conference held July 11th at Epazote, a Santa Fe restaurant. ¡VIVA MEXICO! gives attendees access to cultural treasures not usually seen outside of Mexico. An example of this is Los Voladores de Papantla, from Veracruz, who appeared at the 2010 and 2011 festivals.
The highlight of this year’s festivities is a 30-person dance troupe from the State of Tlaxcala in Mexico. They’ll transport attendees to a traditional pre-Lenten carnival. The dances, including La Danza de Huehues, dating back to the 1700s, satirize the Europeans living in Tlaxcala at the time. Dancers don elaborate hand-carved masks and colorful headdresses as well as opulent costumes to parody the formal European dances of that era.
Visitors to ¡VIVA MEXICO! will get to see something really special; the creation of a Alfombra de Aserrín, a patterned “carpet” made from painted sawdust. Traditionally, these are created in mid-August in Huamantla, Tlaxcala for the celebration called La Noche Que Nadie Duerme (The Night When Nobody Sleeps). Each year, artisans create about 6 kilometers of this beautiful ground covering for the Virgen de la Caridad (Virgin of Charity) to walk on. The Santa Fe version will measure about 5 feet by 20 feet. Come watch the artisans create this temporary masterpiece.
Back for their second year, Cornisa 20, a comedy troupe from Guanajuato, Mexico, will perform a “mariachi clown” show on stage each day. Visitors will also encounter the troupe dressed as charros (Mexican cowboys) walking around Las Golondrinas. These funny men on stilts will amuse and amaze you.
There will also be artisans from five Mexican states selling their colorful creations. When you get hungry, there are Mexican food vendors offering a variety of treats. Local chef and owner of Epazote, Fernando Olea, will demonstrate the preparation of his special New Mexican mole and offer tastes on both days. There’s a full schedule of events on Las Golondrinas’ website.
Admission is $8 for adults and $5 for seniors and teens. Children under 12 are free. While at ¡VIVA MEXICO! tour the 17th century hacienda at the site and tour the grounds where life in Spanish Colonial New Mexico is recreated.
For more events in Santa Fe, check out Tidbits.