San Martin Tilcajete Carnaval

By Tony Reddington

Día de Carnaval in Oaxaca is special , especially in the village of San Martín Tilcajete. The Spanish brought the tradition to Mexico and, like many other seasonal celebrations, it happens to coincide  with indigenous festivals celebrating the “lost days” of the Mesoamerican calendar, “when faces were covered to repel or confuse evil.” Apparently, it caught on “because it was one time when normal rules could be broken especially with the use of masks to hide identities from the authorities.”

A mixture of vegetable oil and of motor oil  and the same powdered paint is applied to the bodies, cowbells are attached, masks or intricately crafted  alebrije are donned and the festivities are ready to begin 

It is a raucous affair, with passerby’s being daubed with paint and copious amounts of mezcal and cerveza being consumed, all to chase the devils out 

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