Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Semanta Santa Tiangus in Uruapan I
Our route took us from the dry mountains of San Miguel, through the flatter farm land around Celaya and after going around the city of Morelia, we started climbing up into pine forested mountains around Patzcuaro and then down to our destination of tropical Uruapan for the opening of the annual arts and crafts Tiangus or market. I had heard for years about this exhibition but this was the first time we had gone. I should have gone sooner. There are many small Purepecha villages around Lake Patzcuaro that have specialized for hundreds of years in a variety of metal, wood, textiles and ceramic crafts. The week before Easter is when they all converge on Uruapan in their unique costumes and piles of goods. This is the market for selling their work and for buying supplies to make more goods to sell and to stock up on things they need for their home. But this has also become a market for the lovers and buyers of folk arts and crafts to come and see what is new and to buy inventory for their stores and galleries. Buses pour into the city and the hotels fill up. After we checked into the hotel on Friday we headed to the main plaza to see what was happening. The main plaza is several blocks long and it was mostly covered in tents. The villagers were still setting up their wares. We explored a bit of the area around the plaza and then headed back up the hill to our hotel near the National Parque. We met up with some other people from San Miguel at our hotel on Friday evening and when we went back into town for dinner I made my first purchase. It is a bulbous shape like the green ceramic pineapples that you see from the area but it looks like an Agave plant that has had its lower leaves stripped and it is topped with a lid of Agave leaves. We left it for the artisan to wrap up telling him we would pick it up later. One of the things I wanted to purchase was a pot from the remote village of Cocucho for the new fountain we are going to put in the patio. I was introduced to Juana a tiny woman....shorter than I....with salt and pepper braids, strong hands and feet that looked like they had walked for miles carrying heavy loads. She shook my hand but also embraced me and kissed my cheek. Such a smile and zest for life that woman has. You can feel it all around her. I wasn't ready to purchase my pot yet but promised I would be back to buy from her. Early the next morning Ned and I headed up by the National Parque for breakfast at a restaurant that overlooked one of the waterfalls of the Rio Capatitzio in the Parque. I had eggs in a wonderful avocado sauce. We finished just in time to head to the entrance to the Parque for the start of the parade. Each of the villages has a distinctive costume as well as a special product. This was the time that they showed both off. Colorful braids in the hair or a special rebozo folded and worn on the head. Skirts and aprons of pleats or embroidery and beads. Huipils with beautiful embroidery around the neck and shoulders. I recognized that although similar, there were different patterns from the various villages. The rebozos were used for head dresses, market baskets, backpacks, baby carriers, and of course shawls to ward of the chill of the evening. The parade was really lovely and everyone, both the paraders as well as the watchers, seem to be enjoying the colorful spectacle.