10 Traditions and Customs of Veracruz (Mexico)

The traditions and customs of Veracruz are a combination of the indigenous traditions of the first settlers with a European influence thanks to the Spanish conquest.

When the Spaniards began the conquest of Mesoamerican territory , in Veracruz the first Spanish population was formed.

customs traditions of veracruz

This region has a mixture of cultures, mainly indigenous, Spanish and Afro-Cuban. Its influence is clearly visible in all the traditions and customs that this territory holds.

The mixture of cultures originating in this territory, specifically the Huastecos , the Totonacas and the Olmecs , along with the Spanish culture, is reflected in its typical dishes, celebrations and dances.

Veracruz is located along the coast and in the central part of Mexico. Developed during the Spanish colonization, Veracruz has been the largest, oldest and historically important Mexican port.

List of traditions and customs of the state of Veracruz in Mexico

1- Carnival of Veracruz

It is one of the most recognized carnivals on the globe, known as 'the most joyful carnival in the world'. It lasts about nine days in total and has six major parades, public concerts, parties, and social events.

The carnival in Veracruz has its origins in the colonial period. Residents of localities just outside the city created new forms of music with European, African, and indigenous traditions.

These ancient traditions involving people dressed in colorful clothes dancing to rhythms derived from Africa provoked disapproval of the Catholic Church.

However, the festival continued to evolve into more formal dances for a small select group, as well as street celebrations for the popular classes.

Today, Veracruz has the largest and most famous carnival in Mexico. It begins with the 'burning of the bad mood' and ends with the burial of 'Juan carnaval'.

The 'burning of bad mood' is represented by the effigy of a person known and hated. 'Juan carnaval' is another effigy that receives a funeral of lie.

Among these events the carnival queen and her court are crowned, six parades with a minimum of 30 floats are made that resort Veracruz and Boca del Rio, concerts are performed by well-known artists, dances, and charity events.

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2- The Dance of the Tocotines

This dance originated in Misantla. Generally it is represented in the Temple of the parish of the Assumption.

This dance is a representation of the arrival of the Spanish conquerors to what today is the municipality of Xico Viejo.

This dance is composed of 18 parts that lasts about four hours. All the confrontations that took place until Cortes triumphs over Moctezuma are represented.

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3- Chicken Encoahuatado

This traditional dish from the humid and hot state of Veracruz consists of a chicken breast choked in a creamy peanut sauce.

In Veracruz, seeds and nuts are often used to add creaminess and flavor to sauces.

Although peanuts were used primarily by the Maya, they are used in the Veracruz area more than anywhere in Mexico.

It is believed that the use of peanuts and chilies in this dish represent the culture and taste of Veracruz cuisine.

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4- Feast of La Candelaria

This event is celebrated in 13 municipalities of Veracruz. There are two versions of the origins of this feast.

The first version is based on the veneration of the Indians towards a goddess called Chalchiuhtlicua, goddess of water, rivers, seas and lagoons.

It is said that when the Spaniards arrived they supplanted Chalchiuhtlicua by the virgin of Candelaria, protector of the fishermen.

The second version is based on the Andalusian virgin caring for the sailors who lived on the island of Tlaxcotialapan. Regardless of reality, the Spanish influence is clear; during the celebration of the Candelaria bulls are released like in the European pamplonadas.

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5- Dance of the Papantla Flyers

It is an ancient indigenous ceremony consisting of dances and the climbing of a 30-meter pole from which four of the five participants are tied with ropes to descend to the floor.

The fifth participant remains at the top of the stick, dancing and playing a flute and a drum.

It is believed that this ritual began when the natives asked the gods to end a severe drought.

Although this ritual did not originate with the Totonac natives, it is currently associated with them, especially those in and around Papantla in Veracruz.

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6- Feast of All the Dead

It is a celebration that lasts for several days and focuses on family gatherings and friends who remember and pray to the nearby members who have died to help them on their spiritual journey.

Traditions connected with these celebrations include building private altars called offerings, honoring members using skulls, dead flowers and visiting the graves of the deceased. It is believed that this tradition had its beginnings in Aztec festivals.

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7- Day of the Holy Cross or Day of the mason

This festival is held for several days in May in 10 municipalities of Veracruz. In this festival, crosses are built, placed in buildings and the priest or parish priest usually blesses the structures.

In addition, this celebration involves the drink of liqueurs like beer, mezcal and tequila; parties and meetings are also held.

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8- Day of the virgin of Guadalupe

It is celebrated on December 12 and commemorates the appearance of this virgin in the hill Tepeyac.

At present, it is celebrated with several organizations of workers of neighborhoods and colonies; they carry a virgin that has been decorated with paper and flowers. These people carry the virgin to a temple while accompanying their pilgrimage with music and songs.

Some people even wear mariachis to sing to the virgin. At the end of the pilgrimage, the parish priest blesses them.

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9- Danza huasteca veracruzana

It is a dance with great European influences, especially Spanish, originated in the coasts of Veracruz; is performed on a stage.

This dance is a combination of various musical forms, Indian and African influences.

Usually it is called huapango to the celebration where the interpreters, musicians and dancers are included.

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10- Veracruz crafts

The craftsmanship of Veracruz depends on the territory where he is. Some of the most well-known handicrafts of this state include articles of palm and jarcieria, vanilla figurines, wool textiles and hawksbill items.

Textiles with waist looms are made in Amatlán de los Reyes and in Coatepec handicrafts of the root, trunk and branches of coffee trees are made.

On the other hand, in Tuxtlas are made masks of woods and amulets, Tiocotalpan is known for its fabrics, and in Xalapa the Olmec and Totok tradition of making jade and ceramic pieces is respected.

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