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Guadalupe-Reyes is a marathon of holidays celebrated in Mexico from December through January. The holidays consist of families spending time with one another and eating delicious food. Markets are packed with eager shoppers, piñatas are hung for the children and presents are wrapped.
The festivities begin on December 12, with the celebration of the Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe and end on January 6, with the celebration of The Three Wise Men. December 16th commemorates the beginning of the Christmas season; the first evening of Las Posadas.
On December 12, the patron saint of Mexico, Our Lady of Guadalupe—better known as Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe—is celebrated. This day is one of the most important holidays of the year. According to the story on December 9, 1531 the peasant Juan Diego had a vision of the Virgin Mary on a hill just outside of Mexico City. Three days later, Juan Diego returned to the hilltop at the direction of the Virgin Mary and placed Castilian roses, which are not native to Mexico and which were blooming on the usually barren hilltop, into his cloak. He returned to his village and opened the cloak before Bishop Zumárraga. The flowers fell to the floor, and in their place was the image of the Virgin of Guadalupe, miraculously imprinted on the fabric. More than four hundred years later, this original cloak remains on display in the Basilica of Guadalupe in Mexico City. Every year, hundreds of people visit to pay homage to the Virgin of Guadalupe.
December 12: Day of the Virgin of GuadalupeDecember 16-24: Las PosadasDecember 24: Christmas Eve (Nochebuena)December 28: Holy Innocent’s DayDecember 31: New Year’s EveJanuary 1: New Year’s DayJanuary 6: Day of the Three Wise Men
Tapijulapa, Tabasco, is a small town home to crafts, nature and tradition. Whitewashed houses, red tile roofs, cobblestone streets and beautifully painted pots decorate the town. A zip line hovers overhead, and crosses the Oxolotan River. The town is famous for artisans who make furniture with regional vines,… which the locals call “matusay.” The finished products are often referred to as wicker furniture. These wicker crafts have been made for over half a century, and can be found in the form of chairs, tables, baskets, sombreros and thousands of other items.
The central plaza of Tapijulapa is adorned with trees and a gazebo. The side streets are decorated with the charming houses. The Oxolotan Convent rests on the banks of the Oxolotan River. Built around 1572, it has interesting and intricate architectural details. Now home to an art museum, the ex-convent showcases colonial pieces, oil paintings and wooden sculptures.
Tapijulapa is nestled between the foothills of the Sierra madre del Sur mountains of the state of Tabasco. The State Reserve “Sierra de Tabasco” protects the last remnants of the forest Tabasco, and adds rich nature to Tapijulapa. The Amatan River drifts alongside one side of the town, and the other side is bordered by the Oxolotan River. The surrounding mountains, forests and river provide waterfalls, natural pools, botanical gardens and nature trails. The rivers provide refuge for hot summer days. These outdoor activities are encompassed by unparalleled natural beauty, with a wide variety of flora and fauna to appreciate.
A setting perfect for enjoying nature is the Yu-Balcah, an ecological reserve. Visitors can walk into the jungle and observe endangered animals, as well as camp, bike, kayak and simply observe nature. The Kolem Jaa (The Greatness of Water) ecotourism center has a spectacular group of waterfalls. Scattered along the falls are botanical gardens and nature trails.
Ancient tradition is also found in Tapijuapa. The Cueva de las Sardinas Ciegas (Cave of the blind sardines) holds a lake inside. Because the water is surrounded by darkness, the fish inside are blind. There was an ancient Mayan tradition to honor Chac, the rain god, where ceremonial fishing would occur. To honor this tradition, natives join in the cave on Palm Sunday to fish, and the amount caught forecasts the future crop.
The Pueblos Magicos program identifies towns that reflect “the culture of Mexico” through attributes like architecture, traditions, customs, music, gastronomy, festivities and handcrafts. There are currently 52 destinations throughout Mexico that have earned the Pueblos Magicos classification.
As Christmas is approaching, families are starting to buy the necessary ingredients to cook their holiday feasts. Markets are packed full of people, running around buying last minute items. There are so many components that go into making the perfect holiday meal. Between Las… Posadas, Nochebuena (Christmas Eve), and Christmas, families in Mexico are going to be full from eating all of the mouthwatering dishes.
Some of the items that are found on every Nochebuena and Christmas table in Mexico are:
Ensalada de Nochebuena: Christmas Eve colorful salad that usually includes lettuce, beets, pomegranate seeds, oranges, and many other ingredients.
Pavo: turkey is native to Mexico and a popular choice for everyone’s household. The turkey is usually roasted or served with mole.
Tamales: cornmeal dumplings wrapped in corn husks; usually filled with spicy pork, beef, or chicken. Tamales are time consuming to prepare so they are typically only eaten on special holidays.
Bacalao: dried salted codfish that shows up in markets as the holidays are approaching. Usually includes stewed tomatoes, capers, olives, and potatoes.
Romerito: green leaf vegetable that is often served with shrimp cakes drenched in mole.
Pozole: hominy soup made with pork or chicken and served with shredded lettuce or cabbage, radishes, avocado and lime wedges. It is made in large batches which is perfect for a large holiday meal.
Buñuelos: crispy fried treat sprinkled with sugar or doused in syrup and usually served with a hot drink.
Ponce Navideño: Mexican hot fruit punch that sometimes has a splash of alcohol.
Celebrated for his efforts in promoting and building the sport, Carlos Slim became part of the Hall of Fame of the Mexican Motorsport Federation (FEMADAC). When asked about the future of Formula One in Mexico, Slim reiterated that in order for Mexico to enter the F1 calendar, they must present a suitable… project first. Some are hopeful Mexico will be able to get on the F1 race schedule in 2013.
"There are many variables. It’s a big project; it has to be a national project, having a promoter that can coordinate the pieces around. Hopefully in the future we can have a Grand Prix back to Mexico," said Slim.
Slim also participated in the unveiling of the Wall of the Carrera Panamericana in the events where he was the main protagonist and pilots Guillermo Rojas and the brand new World Rally Champion Benito Guerra attended the event as well.
The meetings and conventions industry in Mexico continues booming as proven by the many events that have taken place this year, including such high-level and significant meetings as the G20 Summit of the finance ministers representing the world’s 20 largest economies, the B20 Summit of business… leaders from the G20 countries, the T20 Summit of the tourism ministers from the G20 countries, and the G20 Trade and Investment Promotion Summit, among many others.
“The main advantages of Mexico as an international meetings and conventions destination are clearly the convenient location to most US cities; the affordability of both air and land especially with the increase in the number of all-inclusive options; the diversity of destinations from cultural to resort to urban; and the superb service culture that exists across the country,” said David Peckinpaugh, president of Maritz Travel Company, a global leader firm in the meetings, events, and incentive travel programs.
When speaking about its company’s plans in Mexico in the next years, Peckinpaugh added, “We continue to see a steady increase year over year of our business into Mexico. We are working closely with the Mexico Tourism Board to expand the education of our buyers and planners, to increase their knowledge on what is new in the destinations and to build the awareness around safety that is paramount with our corporate and association clients.”
Most recently, in November 2012, the Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA) of North America held its 5th Annual Advisory Summit in Mazatlan, Mexico. Participants shared with MexicoToday their experience while in Mazatlan through a series of video testimonials, including:
• Gary Schirmacher, senior vice president at Experient
• Leigh Wintz, principal consultant at Tecker International
• Michael Payne, executive vice president at SmithBucklin Corporation
• James Rooney, executive director at the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority
• James Wood, CEO at the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau
And the number of international meetings and conventions to be held in different locations in Mexico in 2013 throughout 2018 is already lining up, including:
• In 2013: 17th Congress of the International Society of Development Biologists – ISDB (Cancun); 64th Annual Meeting of the International Society of Electrochemistry – ISE (Santiago de Queretaro); and the 24th International Society for Neurochemistry Meeting (Cancun).
• In 2014: XIII International Congress of Parasitology – ICOPA (Mexico City); 11th World Congress on Nuclear Medicine and Biology (Cancun); 13th Pan American Congress of Dairy (Chihuahua); and the 19th World Congress on Information Technology – WCIT (Guadalajara).
• In 2016: International Congress of Ophthalmology (Guadalajara); and, the 21st World Congress of Echocardiography and Allied Techniques (Mexico City)
• In 2018: Congress of the International Society for Intellectual Property (Cancun); and the 17th International Conference on Emergency Medicine (Mexico City).
Meetings in Mexico contributed 1.43 percent to the country’s GDP in 2010 and account for 18 percent of total travel and tourism demand generating 18 billion dollars in revenue. Mexico also boasts sophisticated meetings infrastructure. With over 57 major convention and exposition centers across the country and half a million hotel rooms in more than 3,000 luxury hotels, Mexico is equipped to hold meetings of international caliber. Due to major infrastructural development and strong governmental support, Mexico saw a 25 percent increase in world congresses from 2010 to 2011, positioning the country as 20th in the International Congress and Convention Association (ICCA) rankings for 2011.
“If you haven’t experienced Mexico lately then you are missing out on providing truly exceptional experiences for your meeting and incentive guests,” added Peckinpaugh.
Central Mexico has copious amounts of sun and tortillas, so perhaps it isn’t so surprising that someone came up with the idea of using solar power to make them. In the town of El Sauz, north of Mexico City, German businessman Gregor Schapers has created and installed giant circular solar-powered ovens to… make tortillas in a carbon-free manner.
Schapers, who has lived in the town of El Sauz, 180 kilometers (110 miles) north of Mexico City since 2003, hopes that this environmentally-friendly solar cooker can ultimately slash energy bills in Mexico's poor rural communities.
Conventional ovens typically use gas, up to 16 gallons a month. Some might expect a solar oven to be rather anemic in the temperature ranges. However, Schapers solar cookers can reach beyond 1,800 degrees Fahrenheit.
He adapted solar energy-harnessing technology created by the Austrian Wolfgang Scheffler. Scheffler reflectors are used to heat up a griddle, oven, and cauldron. They are made in El Sauz by TrinySol and can last up to thirty years.
Inhabitat reports that one solar cooker costs about $4,000-$5,000, yet the oven more than pays for itself in a relatively short period of time. This is because, once up and running, the solar cooker has no need for anything but sunlight, and helps Gregor Schapers save the money he would otherwise be forced to spend on gas.
These ovens also help promote green-oriented behaviors amongst the people presently living in the town of El Sauz.
"You can cook for a group of up to 60 people per reflector. It's good for social and economic development in rural communities," George Schaper said with respect to his cooker and the business of building it.
The solar panels used to make these ovens are fitted with light sensors, which mean that they automatically turn towards the sun.
In addition to heat, the solar reflectors can produce steam and Schapers is testing three other uses for his giant panels: a greenhouse project; honey production; and a system for steam baths.
Mexico participated in the Eighteenth Conference of the Parties to the Framework Convention of the United Nations on Climate Change (COP 18), which recently took place in Doha, Qatar. Francisco Barnés Regueiro, General Director of National Institute of Ecology and Climate Change (INECC), led the Mexican delegation. …
“For Mexico it is important for the agreement to be legally binding and secure the participation of all States according to their capabilities and responsibilities, focusing not only on mitigation, but in all those aspects that require further development, such as financial" said Barnés Regueiro.
Since hosting COP16 in Cancun, Mexico has worked tirelessly to support the efforts of the international community on climate change, including the establishment of an Interministerial Commission on Climate Change, strengthening local capacities for attention of the phenomenon, and the entry into force of the Act on Climate Change.
Additionally, Mexico has promoted the implementation of the agreements reached at the last conference of the parties, particularly the Durban package that builds on the Cancun Agreements, and promoted to reflect the urgency of immediate action on climate change.
Mexican officials stressed the necessity to find a model of growth with lower carbon emissions, with an efficient use of our natural resources and conserving biodiversity.
For the 24-year-old, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, the 2012 season has been somewhat of a rollercoaster ride. The striker known as “Little Pea” seemed to be having trouble matching his performance from the previous season. This slow start forced Head Coach, Sir Alex Ferguson, to relinquish Chicharito’s… starting position. However, Mexico’s most famous footballer now has seven goals in his last five appearances for Man U, forcing Ferguson to admit he has earned the right to start.
After three years without a break, playing internationals during the close season, Hernandez looks refreshed and revitalized following his break last summer and is back to the form he showed in his debut season. Currently at 16 goals as a sub for Manchester United, Chicharito is closing in on Ole Gunnar Solakajer's record (28) and it’s only a matter of time before he is standing alongside the Norwegian as United's greatest impact player.
"Chicharito is getting back to what he was a couple of years ago and a summer's rest has helped him enormously," said Ferguson.
"He's looking fresh and aggressive with his running, he's always a handful and the way he's started this season I'm certain he'll get to 20-plus goals."
Because of his impressive play in Novemeber, Hernandez captured his second successive ManUtd.com Player of the Month award. Brazilians Rafael da Silva and Anderson grabbed second and third place respectively – but Hernandez’s dominant 67% of the vote was enough to secure his sixth monthly triumph.
The director of Hidden Moon, Pepe Bojorquez, is excited for the world to see his newest work. The international film premiered November 21 in Mexico, and is to be released worldwide.
“This film is about so many things. The story is easy to empathize,” Pepe said. “I really wanted to portray the Mexico that I knew, that I grew up with, through poetry, love, music.”
The story captures the true beauty and complications of life, and intertwines the intricate feelings of love with the deep nature of truth.
The story is partially his, but he said it is really everyone’s. Pepe chased his dreams of becoming a filmmaker, and the story is about a woman who will stop at nothing for her dreams.
“Sometimes our goals and what we want to accomplish mask everything though,” Pepe said. “Such as love! It can be right in front of us.”
Ever since he was very young, Pepe always knew he wanted to make movies. His father gave him a camera when he was seven. He began his career by studying business first, then marketing, and then finally applied to the University of Southern California film school to learn the art.
“Growing up in Mexico 20 years ago was tough, because there were only a couple careers to follow,” Pepe said. “If I wanted to be a filmmaker, that was hard. But now, whatever you want to be, people respect.”
To children in Mexico, Pepe offers some advice. “Keep going, fight for your dreams, no matter what you want to do!” Pepe said. “I have to fight every single day.”
Following the popularity of the world’s only Mexican beaded Volkswagen, namely “Vochol”, the Museum of Popular Arts’ Friends Association (Asociación de Amigos del Museo de Arte Popular - AAMAP) has made available miniature replicas which can be purchased at their… stores in Mexico City. The miniature replicas, also known as “Vocholitos”, are a wonderful way to promote and recognize the unique artistic expressions of the Mexican Huichol popular tradition. Even the role of the women is represented through the Vochol – and the Vocholito.
MexicoToday is raffling 4 Vocholitos – two in Germany and two in France – via its Facebook pages, so make sure to participate for a chance to win one of them if you are based in any of those two countries!
The “Vochol” has been touring around North America and Europe for people abroad to enjoy such a magnificent piece of art. Following its exhibition at the Smithsonian in Washington, DC in March and the Denver International Airport in June, the “Vochol” visited the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris in October, when it head to the Autostadt in Wolfsburg, Germany where it will be exhibited until the first week of January in 2013.
In an exclusive interview with MexicoToday, the then president of the Marie Therese de Arango AAMAP invited people from around the world to admire and visit one of the Vochol upcoming exhibitions. The Vochol is up for sale, and as de Arango said on the video, “We hopefully want to sell it. We would like to find a very interested collector or museum that will want to buy it.”
Watch this video where one of the Huichol bead artists that made the Vochol explains how much he appreciates its art and culture, and invites people to see the Vochol.
As Mexico Today first reported in May, the world famous Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders spent a week at the Iberostar Paraíso Maya on the Riviera Maya for their 2013 calendar photo shoot. The 2013 calendar marks the third consecutive year that the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders have chosen Mexico's beaches for the production of their promotional calendar.
During the episode, the cheerleaders had warm things to say about Mexico, “We look for a lot of things in our locations. First and foremost: great sand, great color of water, sunrises and sunsets.”
“Iberostar Hotels & Resorts is proud to have a strong partnership with Riviera Maya and one of the most celebrated football teams in the nation, the Dallas Cowboys,” said John Long, Iberostar’s vice president of sales and marketing, in a written release.
Click here to watch the full episode of Dallas Cowboy Cheerleaders: Making the Team.
In popular culture, many inaccurately associate December 21, 2012 with a Mayan prophecy about the end of the world. This is false. According to the Mayan Calendar, the world will NOT end on December 21, 2012, but rather a new cycle in life will begin. The Mayas never mentioned the world nor time would end. In fact, Mayan texts refer to dates after… 2012. The Temple of Inscriptions in Palenque refers to dates in the year 4772, two thousand years from now.
The interest in Mayan culture and Mayan cosmology has prompted renewed interest in visiting Mayan sites in Mexico. The Mexico Tourism Board launched an initiative called Mundo Maya to promote tourist interest in the states of Yucatan, Chiapas, Campeche, Tabasco and Quintana Roo, key locations of the Mayan civilization.
Mundo Maya promoted such sites as the ruins of Calakmul in the state of Campeche, which was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2002. In Yucatán, the observatories of Chichén Itzá tracked the heavens. Explore the Tomb of the Red Queen in Chiapas, and learn how the indigenous jatropha plant is being refined into biofuel. And beyond the beaches of Quintana Roo, the modern-day Maya are pioneering new eco-tourism ventures to protect their natural resources. And in the state of Tabasco, chocolate was first invented as a Mayan religious beverage.
Many of the challenges facing today’s global community – such as climate change, biodiversity and food insecurity – were faced by the Maya more than a thousand years ago. Learning the lessons of the Mayan civilization can help the modern world escape a similar fate.
Sergio “Checo” Perez recently concluded his second season in Formula 1, for which he was named one of the top ten drivers of the 2012 campaign. The end of the season marks a significant transition for the 22-year-old driver. After two years with Sauber, Checo will now take his talents to the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes… racing team, signing a multi-year deal to race alongside 2009 world champion Jenson Button. Said Perez, “I'm under no illusion that it is indeed a very big step – as it would be for any driver – but I'm ready for it.”
Vodafone McLaren Mercedes Team Martin Whitmarsh noted that Perez’s performance this season brought him a lot of favorable attention. “It was a string of giant-killing performances, a trio of podiums and a brilliant fastest lap in this year’s Monaco Grand Prix that showed us that Sergio lacks nothing in terms of speed and commitment, said Whitmarsh. “We've been monitoring his progress carefully for some months - and, now that he's become part of the Vodafone McLaren Mercedes team, our task will be to refine and develop his abilities as his career progresses over the coming years.”
Team Principal Monisha Kaltenborn thanked Checo for his time at Sauber “Our thanks also go to Sergio Pérez, who has claimed three podiums for the team so far and now has the opportunity at McLaren-Mercedes to display his immense talent with one of the most successful teams in Formula One history. We would also like to wish Sergio all the best and every success for the future.”
Watch this video where Checo thanks his fans at the conclusion of a successful season.
Rich in culture, history and attractions, Veracruz was an obvious filming choice for Hidden Moon.
Veracruz is Mexico’s oldest, largest and historically most significant port since European colonization. It has always acted as a main gate for Mexico, accepting many sea travelers and products since the 16th century. Hernan Cortes first landed in Mexico only 20 km northwest from Veracruz. Because Veracruz is the oldest standing city settled by Europeans, it is overflowing with historical sites. Visitors tour the San Juan de Ulua Castle, the last fortress of the Spanish Empire that was later used as a prison during Porfirio Diaz’s government.
Veracruz is home to a blend of cultures from the indigenous Mexican, Spanish and Afro-Cuban. The mixture is showcased in the city’s food and music, which carries strong Spanish, Caribbean and African influences. The traditional vericruzana music is called “Son Jarocho,” which is the perfect example of the city’s blended cultures.
The downtown harbor plazas are teeming with life. The city rarely sleeps, with most of the locals listening to music in the squares late into the night, only to wake up in the early morning to sip coffee at sidewalk cafes. Music and dancing bring light to the city once the sun goes down, and the bustle of everyday activity springs back to life in the morning. Coffeehouses are a social center, the most famous being the Gran Café del Portal and the Café de la Parroquia.
Every year since 1866, the Veracruz Carnaval is celebrated. Veracruz’s Carnaval is the largest in Mexico. It is based in the historic center of the city, and focuses on the Carnaval Parade of Veracruz. The event begins with the “Burning of Bad Humor” and ends with the “Burial of Juan Carnaval.”
http://mexicotoday.org The 11th edition of the International Balloon Festival was held in Leon, Guanajuato. With approximately 200 hot air balloons from 14 countries, this spectacular event was a must-see. Considered to be Latin America's largest event of its kind, over 350,000 visitors from the Americas and Europe… came out to see the extraordinary hot air balloons.