Charco del Ingenio turns 21
By Jade Arroyo
This year’s anniversary celebration for El Charco del Ingenio began auspiciously with sunshine, as if the old gods had blessed the event. Twenty-one years after the first ceremony on July 7, 1991, the ancient traditions are kept alive in the botanic garden through pre-Hispanic dances and rituals, traditions that respect and honor Mother Earth and the spirits of nature.
Since then, this popular, colorful festival has become a way for different sectors of society to come together and contribute to the maintenance of popular culture and cultural interchange.
Originally, El Charco was used not only as a natural area but also as a ritual space for the indigenous population of San Miguel, rituals centered on the cross erected at the site during the time of the founding of our city. The rituals include the ceremony of the four winds and a walk to the four stations of the cross at El Charco. The walk ends in Parque Landeta, where the cross is installed and the day-long fiesta continues with dancing, music and other popular activities, seasoned with mezcal and joyfulness.
The collective musical project Familia Veryka heightened the good mood with their reggae beat, expressing themes of love, tolerance and peace.
In the afternoon music was provided by Huapango Arribeno, led by singer and composer Guillermo Velázquez, and Los Leones de la Sierra de Xichu. The huapango, for those unfamiliar with it, is an old musical form of popular expression that comments on society, politics and life, improvised poetry in a kind of musical juggling act. The lyrics are sung accompanied by foot tapping. The word “huapango” comes from Náhuatl and means “on the platform.”
In addition, this year regional products were available for purchase, mostly derived from nopal and maguey: honey, nopal in vinegar, nopal flour, crystallized nopal, sweet dehydrated nopal with chile, shampoo, soaps, pickled nopal, various liquors and marmalades, to name a few examples. Vendors at about a dozen stands offered these organic products directly from the producers to the public.
For more information about activities at the botanic garden you can visit the website at www.elcharco.org.mx.