Tag Archives: History & Traditions

The Origin of the Names ‘Huatulco’ and ‘Santa Cruz’

By Brooke Gazer

Huatulco is known for its stunningly beautiful bays, but the region is also steeped in history and folklore. In fact, this is the stuff that epic movies are made of. Several places bear the name Santa Cruz, but the beach in Huatulco is the original one! For anyone unfamiliar with Spanish, the name translates to “Holy Cross”, but it does not refer to the Christian Son of God. Legend has it that long before the Spaniards arrived in the New World, a man with a flowing white beard floated on a cross onto this beach. The natives believed he was Quetzalcoatl, the ancient Winged Serpent God, who had promised to return to his people. No one knows what happened to the man, but the cross was erected on the beach in Santa Cruz. Continue reading The Origin of the Names ‘Huatulco’ and ‘Santa Cruz’

The Delivery (La Entrega) of Guerrero

By Jan Chaiken and Marcia Chaiken

Since the Mexican War of Independence ended in 1821, Mexico has had over 100 heads of state. Many are barely remembered. Some are notable for rare reasons. For example, Pedro Paredes holds the world record for the shortest presidency, one hour on February 19, 1913. But others are larger than life and have left a highly visible legacy around Mexico. One unforgettable president is Vicente Guerrero. Even when traveling for purposes having nothing to do with learning about Mexico’s past, tourists are likely to stumble on Guerrero history. Continue reading The Delivery (La Entrega) of Guerrero

Homes Are History

By Leigh Morrow

Homes hold more than dishes and dresses, they hold our history. Within the space of the last three months, I have found myself dismantling three intimately special and distinctly different family homes. Our home of 18 years, my parents’ home of 53 years and my husband’s family home. Completing the dismantling of just one home would have been seen as a serious accomplishment, but three, in three months, well, the word monumental comes to mind. Continue reading Homes Are History

Distillation and Mezcal History in Mexico: Indigenous or Foreign, Agave or Coconut

By Alvin Starkman, M.A., J.D.

Perhaps the story of distillation and mezcal in Mexico begins with the arrival of the Spanish during The Conquest in the first quarter of the 1500s. Or with Filipino seamen in the Manila galleon trade who reached the country’s western shores that same century. Or with Olmec or other indigenous cultures some 2,500 years ago. Continue reading Distillation and Mezcal History in Mexico: Indigenous or Foreign, Agave or Coconut

Mexico’s French Century A Whirlwind History of the French in Mexico: Architecture, Fashion, Cuisine


Screen Shot 2017-04-28 at 10.41.39 AMNot to mention independence and revolution!

By Deborah Van Hoewyk

Very, very early on the morning of September 16, 1810, Miguel Hidalgo y Costilla, the well-read priest of Dolores, Guanajuato, stood on a balcony in the dark and delivered his impassioned El grito de Dolores (the Cry of Dolores) for independence from the gachupines (Spanish-born oppressors). Hidalgo’s declaration of independence was steeped in the thinking of the French political philosophers Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-78) and Voltaire (nom de plume of François-Marie Arouet, 1694-1778). Continue reading Mexico’s French Century A Whirlwind History of the French in Mexico: Architecture, Fashion, Cuisine

The Zapatista’s Rebellion Inspiring Global Action

By Kary Vannice

Would you believe me if I told you that a small group of indigenous corn farmers from southern Mexico are responsible, at least in part, for movements like Occupy Wall Street in the United States, Spain’s Indignados, and Direct Democracy Now in Greece? Wondering what could possibly connect corn farmers in Mexico with unemployed urban youth in Madrid? Well, to find the answer, you’ll have to turn back the clock 25 years and revisit the Zapatista uprising in the state of Chiapas. Continue reading The Zapatista’s Rebellion Inspiring Global Action

Feminism through Art

screen-shot-2017-02-25-at-12-47-11-pmBy Alvin Starkman, M.A, J.D.

It’s not that Angélica Vásquez Cruz sets herself apart from other gifted female artisans in the state of Oaxaca because of her feminist bent; it’s her willingness to verbalize to whomever visits her home/workshop the strength she sees in the women of Oaxaca, and how she is invariably able to capture her perspective in her art. The master ceramicist has distinguished herself from other clay sculptors not only in her hometown of Atzompa, the closest craft village to the city of Oaxaca, but throughout all of Mexico. Since age seven Angélica has been innovating and adapting her art form, and for the past quarter century she has been using different clays sourced from the farthest reaches of the country to produce variations in texture and color for her unique and highly thought-provoking pieces. Continue reading Feminism through Art

Rising above Their Role: Women and the War of Independence

By Deborah Van Hoewyk

Mexico is macho, right? Machismo is matched with Marianismo (courtesy of the Catholic Church, every woman represents the pure and nurturing Mary), right? Except for the Tehuanas of the Isthmus, women take a back seat in Mexico, right?

Actually, not so much. The seeds of Mexican feminism were sown by women who fought—literally—in the country’s revolutions: The War of Independence (1810-21) and, a century later, the Mexican Revolution (1910-20). Continue reading Rising above Their Role: Women and the War of Independence

Día de los Reyes Celebration

screen-shot-2017-01-24-at-6-57-45-pmBy Thomas Ahlbrandt

On Friday, January 6th owners of Cosmo Residences hosted a Día de los Reyes party for the Cosmo staff and their families.   This celebrates the traditional Mexican day when children receive gifts from the Three Wise Men (or Magi). The festivities were held on the beach at Cosmo and attended by Cosmo owners, the staff and 25 of their children ranging in age from babies to 12 years old. Actors portraying Superman and Elsa from Frozen presided over the event. Tacos, pizza and the traditional rosca de reyes (kings’ cake) were served; a local disc jockey played popular tunes while the piñatas were smashed. The highlight of the afternoon, of course, was the gifts for all the children. The event was held to celebrate the children and give the owners the opportunity to express their appreciation for their excellent staff. Those who attended concluded it was great fun and it will become annual event. Continue reading Día de los Reyes Celebration

Pre-Hispanic Dogs in Mexican Culture

2017-jan-pics-2016-12-22-at-7-47-24-amBy Julie Etra

Dogs have been a part of Mexican culture for centuries, and I am not talking about perros callejeros, or street dogs. They came along with the first human beings during their migration to the western hemisphere from Asia, so yes, they were already here when the Spaniards arrived. And these migrant settlers bred their dogs and developed unique lineages with unique traits. Few of these breeds survive to the present time, just the Xolo described below, and the Chihuahua. DNA studies conducted on dog fossils by paleozoologist Valadez Azúa verified their common origin with the ancient dogs of Eurasia. However, the fossil remains found in America have variations in their genetic material produced by the geographic isolation of the continents. Continue reading Pre-Hispanic Dogs in Mexican Culture