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One of the great joys of Santa Fe is the diversity of culture and unique events-just last weekend, the City Different hosted the International Folk Art Market at Museum Hill-a collection of four museums; some within the NM Museum Foundation. My last blog focused on our world-class opera and its collection of performances that touch on humanity’s relationship to life’s largeness. Good stuff, but a bit heavy! This week, I am excited to talk about El Rancho de las Golondrinas’ upcoming event ¡VIVA MEXICO! on July 19 and 20, 2014-celebrating seven years of unique cultural fun out at the Ranch. A bit more airy, if you will.

I certainly can’t do justice to the event’s richness, so I have included the Ranch’s recent press release description to help you get a good idea of the event’s main attraction, the Voladores de Papantla: La Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flying Men) is a fertility ceremony that has its roots in the pre-Hispanic period and has been performed by various ethnic groups of Mexican and Central America, especially by the Totanac people of the state of Veracruz in eastern Mexico. The ritual consists of a dance and the climbing by five men of a 60-foot pole. The leader, called the Caporal, stands on top of the pole, playing music on a flute and drum dedicated to the sun, the four winds and the four cardinal directions. At the conclusion of the music, the other four dancers fling themselves headfirst in the “void,” tied to the platform by long ropes. They twirl to mimic the movement of flight and to bear their messages of life and birth to the heavens. The ritual is most strongly identified with the village of Papantla, Veracruz, as the ceremony has died off in most other places. The ceremony was named an Intangible Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in order to help the ritual survive and thrive in the modern world.

The ranch rounds out its central activity with a variety of complementary presentations. The Comedy Troupe, Cornisa 20, return for their fifth year to ensure a lively, light-hearted way to beat the July heat. The day also has 27 artists from 14 states and will be represented at the “Mercado Mexicano”, cleansing ceremonies by traditional Mexican and New Mexican healers or Curanderos, historic weaving and dyeing demonstrations, folkloric dancing….and the list goes on!

As always, the ranch provides its own event; traditional farm animals, historic buildings, and views of the expansive New Mexico sky set on 200 acres of rich earth.

The event is suitable for all ages, and provides a wonderful mingling of both Mexicans and non-Mexican’s alike, peppering the air with Spanish, English, and probably a smattering of Spanglish!

I love Santa Fe, and all of its nuances, but I have to admit that El Rancho de Las Golondrinas is one of my favorite draws. Its connection to New Mexico’s rich history dates back centuries, representing the very essence of the past-people striving to make a good life out of the gifts laying right before them – fertile soil, vivid sunshine, the joy of raising an caring for livestock, the sweat on the brow after a hard day’s work. All that topped with unique activities showcasing so many cultures that many of us would perhaps never have known if it weren't for the Ranch’s commitment to providing such great educational opportunities.

So…….come out and get some fresh air, watch some flying fertility antics, laugh some stress off, and do a little jig here and there to some folkloric and Mariachi music. I’ll be there too, putting my time where my mouth is…volunteering side by side with all the other great people who keep the Ranch alive.

And oh, here’s a link to the schedule of events for those of you who wear watches. As always, SamG of the IOG

Things to See and Do in Santa Fe!

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