Festival of Cauahtemoc

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This article was kindly contributed by Javier Ruiz Ocampo, the Chronicler of Taxco.

The tribute to Cuauhtémoc begins on February 22 in the city of Taxco, at approximately 18:00 o’clock, when arrive caravans that come to Ixcateopan by bus from Mexico City and other states and even abroad with groups of dancers of the different ethnic groups and natives of Mexico and other countries that admire and venerate Cuauhtémoc.

In Taxco they make a brief ceremony, and when they finish they continue to Ixcateopan, running on foot with the sacred fire they light in the Templo Mayor of Mexico because they have to arrive at midnight to deposit it in the Church where the tomb of Cuauhtemoc is.

In Ixcateopan the tribute lasts all night and part of day 23. The best of the ceremonies begins at midnight from day 22 to day 23, with the reception of the sacred fire carried from the main temple of Mexico, and each group brings their offering and takes the floor in Nahuatl or another indigenous language that in Mexico it exists and then in Spanish for its and it lasts all night and part of day 23.

There are no translators to other languages. Each groups express with very special offerings where they bring flowers, bread and seeds to plant in their people blessed by Cuauhtémoc who love them and who tell their sorrows in their language, their successes and all that happened to them that year and ask them to do better.

It is all a unique experience to witness and the ceremony lasts all night because each ethnic group arrives on its own and at different times and lines up to be allowed to enter its tomb. the interior of the church of the sixteenth century now dedicated to Cuauhtemoc because it has no Catholic saint in its interior.

That’s why it is better being there from the 22nd at night, because they also accompany their prayers with pre-Hispanic music and dances, what gives another value to the ceremonies of each group that only take place inside and that the venue is not large and only privileged people can enter, sometimes also in turn.

So if you just want to see dances, costumes and buy crafts you can see them outside all night and day 23, but this you see daily in the city of Mexico outside the Templo Mayor but the ceremony inside the church in Ixcateopan is unique and you have to be alert all night to enter.

It is very interesting and special this ceremony is only carried out in Ixcateopan where the tradition says that the mother of Cuauhtémoc was born and there rest the remains of the Tlatoani.

Outside there are also meetings, coexistence between the natives and visitors, as 95 percent sleep in the square and also in the day there are other events such as pictorial exhibitions, photographs, conferences, and travel to the local museum with the history of the conquest.

Next day, 23 of February at 12:00 (midday) there is another ceremony where the papantla fliers usually participate, until 3 pm, when the municipal president offers the food to all the attendees.

Tourist information & Tips

Ixcateopan is 35 km away from Taxco, and it takes about 2 hours because it is a mountain, and the road has many curves. At that time there is no public transport, only taxis.

Who is really interested in living the culture of authentic Mexicans should be in Ixcateopan from 12 at night. The most important thing is from 00:00 o’clock at night until 14:00 o’clock in the afternoon of the day 23rd, so it is convenient to sleep in Ixcateopan, which only has a hotel with 8 rooms, so it is urgent to reserve, or to carry a tent because authorities enable land with security for those who sleep there but there are no public toilets.

There are also some private houses that on that day function as a hotel.

There are about 3 restaurants, and about 5 houses that sell typical food like quesadillas cakes and small shops that sell cans of food, bread and soda, so it is convenient to bring a small supply for dinner and breakfast even though the authorities distribute coffee and free bread are hundreds of people who come. They also offer a meal on the 23rd with a Rico Mole with chicken and tortillas.

There is medical service and a small hospital in case it is offered.

Some stay until later or because they are allowed to sell their handicrafts, but tourists start to leave Ixcateopan because transportation from 16:00 is very requested and each vehicle only has capacity for 12 people.

After 8 o’clock shops, shops and generally has several fast Mexican food stalls such as tacos etc. On the day from 05:00 in the morning there is public transportation to Taxco and Iguala, that day every hour, the trip takes 1 hour 40 min approx.

Thanks to Javier Ruiz Ocampo, the Chronicler of Taxco for this very interestning and useful information.

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