Love for Mexico

The Resplendent Rebozo March 27 2019, 0 Comments

By Julie R Butler 

When I first came to Pátzcuaro, I was enchanted by the Purépecha women of the region and their traditional rebozos.


At the time, I would have never dreamed of wearing a rebozo myself, in part because I was told that each indigenous group had a specific rebozo design that identified them, kind of like how Scottish clans each have their distinctive kilt patterns, and I didn’t want to try to appropriate a garments with so much cultural significance.

As it turns out, the significance of the rebozo in Purépecha culture is even more than that:
De colores, bordados, deshilados o con plumas, el rebozo purépecha es más que una indumentaria para proteger a la mujer del frío, es un símbolo de su cultura, identidad, feminidad y estado civil que portan con orgullo y elegancia.
Of colors, embroidery, frayed or feathered, the Purépecha rebozo is more than just clothing to protect women from the cold, it is a symbol of their culture, identity, femininity and marital status that they carry with pride and elegance.

Once I started paying more attention, I realized that younger females wear flashier colored rebozos, while the older women wrap themselves in more discrete tones. And indeed, the custom is for married women to wear conservative colors, while older women must wear dark hues. Additionally, Purépecha women are usually wrapped in a white rebozo when burried.

I love how rebozo designs and fabrics differ by region. For example, the rebozos from Oaxaca tend to be lighterweight than the ones from Michoacán. And then there are the famous Santa María del Río rebozos, which represent the styles from San Luis Potosí.

Beyond its cultural importance, I love the utility of this simple piece of cloth. The rebozo is not just useful as a head covering to protect against the sun or a shawl to wrap up in against the chill, but it can also be used to transport things and carry babies, in addition to making a fashion statement or classing up your look.

 


Here in the Pátzcuaro Lake region, I still see mothers carrying their babies on their backs, bundled cozily in these instant baby carriers. Mexican women have known of the benefits of keeping their children close to their bodies for centuries before babywearing became trendy in the industrialized world!


I’ve gotten over my reluctance toward wearing rebozos, after seeing more and more women wearing them and admiring how graceful and chic they can be. Frida Kahlo loved to wear rebozos, and now I do too. I have a few of them, and in fact, I don’t think it’s possible to have too many of them!

Julie R Butler is a freelance writer and editor living in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán. She has 20-plus years' experience exploring México, Central America, Argentina, and Uruguay. In addition to writing about the wonders of living in México, she specializes new technologies – particularly, hydroponics and smart-city tech. Online portfolio: https://julierbutler.contently.com/

Culture, Beaches, Nature, Sports - Mexico Has Something for Everyone March 20 2019, 0 Comments

By Julie R Butler 

Shoptezuma is all about how great Mexico is; and one of my favorite things about Mexico is the access to parks, beaches, and awesome natural splendor as well as vibrant urban centers, a hoppin’ sports scene, and all kinds of intriguing historical and artistic cultural treasures.

Multilayered Mexican Culture

I love that the cultural atmosphere throughout Mexico has many layers, with a contiguous human history that reaches thousands of years back in time, the colonial influence, lots of different indigenous communities that continue to honor their traditions, and the various regional customs, foods, and music – all coexisting with the vibrancy of modern-day Mexican life.

Mexico City

Photo by Obed Hernández on Unsplash

Mexico’s Rich Heritage

Consider this: The United States is almost five times larger than Mexico in terms of land area, yet Mexico has 35 UNESCO World Heritage sites, while the United States only has 23. From pre-Hispanic archaeological sites to the many colonial city centers, from the tequila-producing region of Jalisco to the tropical forests of Campeche, from monarch butterflies in Michoacán to the whale sanctuary on the Baha Peninsula – these amazing sites showcase the diverse historic and natural heritage of Mexico.

In addition to these sites, UNESCO lists 10 Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity items from Mexico, including things like charrería, mariachi music, and traditional Mexican cuisine.

Mexico Pyramid

Photo by Filip Gielda on Unsplash

Mexico’s Biological and Geographic Diversity

When it comes to biodiversity by country, Mexico ranks 5th, while the United States ranks 12th.

An astounding amount of different types of plants and animals inhabit Mexico, and it’s because of the country’s unique geography: Mexico spreads from the desert north to tropical jungles of the south; the country is very mountainous, so the different altitudes add to the variety of climates and environments; and there are hundreds of kilometers of coastline along both sides that are lined with gorgeous beaches. All of this adds up to a wide variety of different natural settings to enjoy. And wherever you are, you’re never too far from a chillaxing beach vacation.

Mexico Turtle

Photo by Adolfo Félix on Unsplash

Mexico’s Vibrant Urban Centers

As for urban centers, there is no city in the world that’s more dynamic Mexico City. But if CDMX is a bit too much city for you, there are less hectic cities such as Guadalajara, Oaxaca, Morelia, Guanajuato, Monterrey, Puebla, and León, each with its own distinctive character, and all of which are still bursting at the seams with everything from restaurants, museums, theaters, and sports venues to buzzing business districts, intriguing historical centers, beautiful parks, and plenty of bustling shopping areas and markets to lose yourself in.

 Mexico Catedral

Photo by Jezael Melgoza on Unsplash

Mexico Chillax

When you need to escape all the hustle and bustle of urban life, there are plenty of options, ranging from parks and gardens in the heart of the city to over sixty national parks spread across the country to the fabulous Yucatan and Pacific Coast and beaches. These are some of the standouts:

Parks:

  • Bosque de Chapultepec, CDMX
  • Sumidero Canyon National Park, Chiapas
  • Arrecifes de Cozumel National Park, Quintana Roo
  • Palenque National Park, Chiapas

Beaches:

  • Tulum
  • Puerto Vallarta
  • Los Cabos
  • Playa del Carmen
  • Cancun

Mexico Beach

Photo by Sébastien Jermer on Unsplash

The Mexican Passionate for Sports

Another thing I really love about Mexico is the passionate for sports. Of course, Mexican fútbol fans are renowned for their enthusiasm. But that’s not the only sport that has a fervent fan base in Mexico. Other international sports such as béisbol and boxeo are huge, as are uniquely Mexican popular sports like lucha libre and frontenis. And the traditional Mexican sports of toreo and charrería are also quite alive and well.

Something for Everyone

So whether you’re a beach bum, a city slicker, a nature lover, a culture buff, or a sports enthusiast, Mexico has something for everyone!

 

Julie R Butler is a freelance writer and editor living in Pátzcuaro, Michoacán. She has 20-plus years' experience exploring México, Central America, Argentina, and Uruguay. In addition to writing about the wonders of living in México, she specializes new technologies – particularly, hydroponics and smart-city tech. Online portfolio: https://julierbutler.contently.com/