Picture by Gobierno del Estado de Oaxaca


Friday, June 30, 2023

By Jessica Hernández

This Saturday, July 1st, the activities of the month of the Guelaguetza in Oaxaca City will get started. These are officially inaugurated with the first convite carried out in the main streets of the Historic Center. However, Before that, in June, the call to elect the woman who will represent the Goddess Centéotl this year is launched.

Here we will tell you about this contest and the origin of this tradition in which Oaxacan women from different state regions participate.

Centéotl is the deity to which the towns of Oaxaca offered their rituals to have a good harvest. The election of the Goddess in the Mondays of the Hill festivities dates back to July 1934, when a show called The Cult of the Goddess Centéotl was made.

In 1969, the organizing committee of Lunes del Cerro, already with the name of Guelaguetza for the group of dances and dances throughout the state, summoned the first women to participate in a contest and represent this deity.

In that first contest, the participants gave samples of their knowledge of their cultures and traditions, the history and festivals of their towns, their medicinal knowledge, the wisdom of their ancestors, their respect for nature, and their craft creations. They also spoke with pride about the typical foods and drinks of their communities, which have been preserved over the years and show the legacy of their ancestors. And, of course, they showed their clothes made by hand on a backstrap loom, with which they honored their culture and showed the worldview of their people. 

Until now, these are precisely the traits that are evaluated in the election, the extensive knowledge about their culture, the size of their clothing, and that they have also participated in previous contests.

 It is an authenticity committee that is in charge of choosing each year the woman who will represent this deity. Once elected, she will accompany the corresponding authorities in the 4 presentations of the Guelaguetza, which this year will take place on July 17 and 24 at 2 times each day.

Today, the figure of the Goddess Centéotl has become more relevant because, in addition to being the representative of this festivity, its purpose is to promote the cultural value of the peoples of Oaxaca and to make visible those needs that they have, such as is the revitalization of indigenous languages. 

We invite you to be part of this festival that fills all Oaxacans with pride, do not miss the opportunity to attend one of the Guelaguetza presentations, as well as enjoy other cultural activities that the state government carries out every year that frame this racial festivity. This is the perfect date to get to know part of the state’s cultural treasure.

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