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7 ways to know you are at a Oaxaca wedding

A traditional Oaxaca wedding fills you with the identity and culture of Oaxaca that many have forgotten, the wedding traditions reflect the history and culture of the area and remind people of where they come from, what they are, and above all, that they are part of that history and culture.

Grab a live turkey, take it from the legs, put it on top of your head or under the arm and dance.

With that, you are already a master of the dance of the turkey. In some weddings of the city the tradition is alive (but not the turkey), the live turkey is replaced by a stuffed animal. I’m not sure what’s more fun to watch, but I guess the turkey prefers the second option.

“But do not tell my heart, my achy breaky heart”

Although other classics of the 80s and 90s keep their place in the playlists of Oaxacan weddings, as soon as the first notes of the Spanish version of Achy Breaky Heart are heard, all the people get up to dance. Young people, old people, ladies, gentlemen, boys, and girls know the steps of this choreography perfectly.

You can hear the fanfare of the wedding parade from far away.

The band music reverberates, the fireworks thunder, and when you look out to see what’s going on, the first thing you see are two three-meter-tall boyfriend marionettes dancing down the street. A huge globe turns behind with the names of the couple written. The wedding procession, with women traditionally dressed and dancing with baskets of flowers on their heads, follows them closely. You do not need an invitation to see these parades. If you stay in the center long enough on a Saturday, it is very likely that you will be lucky!

Not only in Greek weddings is the crockery broken.

At Istmeñas weddings (the Isthmus is a region south of Oaxaca), women and men dance with clay jícaras, which they then break a few meters from the feet of the couple, after having made a wish and given them money for the honeymoon.

The two words starting with ‘m’ that are not marriage.

No wedding in Oaxaca is complete without them. Mole and Mezcal. When a couple has been dating, many times people ask “when are we going to eat mole?”, That is, when is the wedding? The mole is a rich sauce made with chiles that are served on meat (hopefully not on the flesh of the poor dancing turkey), and almost always the main dish at a Oaxaca wedding. Oaxaca is also the sacred land of mezcal and it is impossible to go to a wedding where this smoked drink does not flow incessantly.

Women dance with a pineapple on the shoulder.

It is the famous dance “Flor de pineapple” that is recreated, although many times the pineapple that is very heavy is replaced by a yellow balloon adorned with green paper on top.

Do not forget your sleeping in case you want to take a nap!

In Oaxaca, weddings last a long time. And this is, without doubt, the most fun. Some last until dawn, but others, particularly those from communities outside the city, can last up to several days. So if you are invited to a wedding in Oaxaca, make sure you go full of vitality for the party.


About the author

This article was written by Ian Hayden Parker, Oaxaca Life staff writer, the leading source for English news in Oaxaca, Mexico.

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