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A Zapotec Wedding

Last Saturday I was lucky enough to be invited to the boda [wedding] of Yanet and Manuel in Teotitlan del Valle, Oaxaca. Yanet, 26, is the daughter of Enedina, a close friend of MZ founder Shelley, who was kind enough to invite me to her daughter’s wedding mere minutes after meeting.

Yanet and Manuel, a couple of nine years, were married at the Preciosa Sangre de Cristo Church, which marks the center of the little town. The church was built on top of the ancient Zapotec temple that was destroyed when the Spanish arrived. Some of the stones from the ruins were incorporated into the architecture of the church, representing the deep roots of the Teotitlan people.


By 8 AM the guests had arrived to this sacred gathering space for mass and the exchange of vows.

dc95c131-fb5d-4579-bdeb-256b7d73f198Afterwards, the newly married couple went to the groom’s family’s house for breakfast, while the bride’s guests went separately to her family’s house to eat, drink, and be merry. And what a breakfast it was. As tradition dictates, we were immediately presented with mezcal and cerveza. This was followed with a plate of pan dulce [sweet bread] for dipping with a cup of Mexican hot chocolate, also known as chocolate atole.


The main course was sopa de higaditos, which is a kind of chicken dumpling soup. An impressive 1,400 organic eggs were gathered from the valley and its surrounding pueblos for these higaditos. It was served with the large, crunchy, tlayuda tortillas, and a heavily whipped chocolate atole.


At 1 PM the marching band approached the bride’s parents home, announcing the arrival of the newlyweds. At this time a massive pile of regalos [gifts] were transferred into the four trucks that were necessary to bring them the groom’s house. We witnessed furniture, a large loom, a count of eight blenders, and endless amounts of bowls all wrapped in bows.


When the trucks were all loaded up, the married couple, band, and guests all preceded together in a parade to the house of the groom.


When we arrived at the groom’s house we were presented with more mezcal and cerveza before a delicious authentic Oaxacan lunch of barbacoa. This barbacoa consists of a slowly roasted lamb, accompanied by a broth made with the drippings from the meat, known as consomé. The fresh tortillas served on the side are used as your utensils.
Now this wouldn’t be a Mexican wedding without lots of dancing. In Teotitlan del Valle they dance the traditional jarabe de balle to a live mariachi band until the wee hours of the morning. Exhausted from a very long day, the people start to retreat to their beds. What a treat to be invited to such a beautiful wedding, packed full of Oaxacan tradition, more so than I ever expected. This is a day I will never forget.


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