Oaxacan Traditions: The Calendas

Oaxaca is a state rich in traditions. Visiting any of its cities is delving into the magical realism of Mexican tales and paintings. Walking its streets includes encountering people speaking their native languages and dressing in colorful garments created in their traditional looms.

The best way to enjoy Oaxacan tradition is to stay in a hotel in Oaxaca that incorporates it. El Callejón is one of the hotels that, from its inception, took into account the local imagery to build an atmosphere that extends its charm beyond its facilities.

If you're about to set foot on Oaxacan soil and want to immerse yourself in its culture, this article is for you. Below, we'll talk about the Calendas, a tradition that is still alive and encompasses all the magic of Oaxaca.

What are the Calendas?

Calendas are the announcement of Oaxacan festivities. If you've ever stayed in a hotel in Oaxaca and encountered many people enjoying a procession full of dance and music, you may have come across this magical tradition.

No one celebrates like the people of Oaxaca. For them, the festival is an event that expresses joy, renews and strengthens family, community, and personal bonds. In essence, Oaxacan culture is very communal, and this is especially evident during celebrations; even the word Guelaguetza already points to the essence of sharing.

The celebration is an understanding among residents who share the same beliefs, religion, and devotion. This is the moment to open up to oneself and others, a time to enjoy after a long period of hard work and break the routine.

The Calenda marks the beginning of the patron saint festivals in the Valles Centrales. It is a proclamation to the four winds and, at the same time, an open invitation for everyone to join the celebration. Friends and neighbors can be seen parading in colorful costumes, alongside 'marmotas' and 'chinas oaxaqueñas.' If you're staying at El Callejón, a hotel in Oaxaca, and hear the sound of La Calenda, don't hesitate to join.

When do the Calendas happen?

The Calendas, as we have mentioned, occur a few days before the patron saint festivals. For example, the Calendas are like the Convites that take place during the Guelaguetza celebrations, as this is around the time of the patron saint festival of the Virgin of Carmen.

How is La Calenda experienced?

The Calendas are led by the ancestral sounds of the drum and the shawm. It is inevitable that when you hear them from your lodging in Oaxaca, they transport you to another era, to the beginnings of the celebration. The instruments combine perfectly, creating sweet melodies and inviting you to join the parade.

Next, the burst of rockets and firecrackers announces the approach of the walking party. These are launched by expert 'coheteros' and are sometimes lit by the person in charge with a cigarette. There they go, towards the sky, drawing a trail in the air until they explode. The larger rockets are launched from a base and do the same as the smaller ones but with more intensity.

The rockets are made of 'carrizo' (a type of bamboo) in many workshops in the city. While they are dangerous, the noise of these fireworks is essential to experiencing the same energy. The noise they produce is part of the melodies played with the shawms and the drum.

The 'marmotas,' born from the collective imagination and the stories of the La Merced neighborhood in the capital of Oaxaca, adorn La Calenda with their spinning movements, surprising both locals and visitors. They are also made with 'carrizo,' dressed in loose clothing, and their heads are made with papier-mâché.

Stay at El Callejón

We invite you to stay with us at El Callejón, one of the beautiful hotels in Oaxaca. Any time of the year is the best for experiencing Oaxacan culture, and perhaps you'll be lucky enough to enjoy one of the Calendas.

El Callejón is a hotel in Oaxaca with sustainable initiatives such as separating organic waste to generate compost and capturing rainwater for human use. Additionally, every corner is decorated with Oaxacan imagery and craftsmanship created by local artists.

If you want more information about our rooms, visit our website or contact us through the following phone lines (951) 351 1564 and (951) 351 5917. You can also follow us on our social media to not miss any Oaxacan traditions.

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