Culture

Here’s Everything You Need To Know About Mexico’s ‘El Viejo’ Traditions That Ring In The New Year

Celebrating the new year in Veracruz, is a time for young people in towns across the coastal Mexican state, to dress up as “viejitos“ or senior citizens, and take to the streets to ask for “aguinaldos” and celebrate a tradition called El Viejo (The Old Man), which is believed to date back to 1875. Here’ what the tradition is all about.

A lively end of year tradition, typical of Veracruz. 

In the state capital, the youngsters parade through the streets to the sound of drums and trumpets to ask for money from drivers and pedestrians they pass along the way. In Veracruz’s Isthmus of Tehuantepec region, young men are the ones who don the costumes of both men and women to dance in the streets for a few coins.

 Typical of ’El Istmo de Tehuantepec’  El Viejo started in 1875 in the Port of Veracruz as a social protest by workers.

 It is said that that the tradition first startred when workers clanked cans and banged on loud drums, asking for Christmas bonuses, called “aguinaldos” in Mexico, outside the home of a rich factory owner who was celebrating his Christmas Eve dinner.

‘El viejo’ was originally inspired by a Korean immigrant who settled in Veracruz.

The tradition lost it’s political aspects and became more what it is today when a Korean man who lived in Veracruz dressed up like the  ‘viejito’ representing the old year in a Japanese almanac that he had. He would parade through the streets on the last day of the year followed by a little child representing the New Year, along with a noisy group of people playing guitars and  güiros, banging pans or setting off  cohetes and singing the following verses asking for their  aguinaldo:

Una limosna  para este pobre viejo, una limosna para este pobre viejo, que ha dejado hijos, que ha dejado hijos, para este año nuevo.

An alm  for this poor old man, An alm for this poor old man, who has left children, who has left children, for this New Year.

Nowadays, the Old Man is usually accompanied by an Old Woman.

The woman carries a baby doll—and the actors are usually university students dressed up with incredible masks and old clothes. They all stop by every store in downtown Xalapa asking for their aguinaldos. It’s a fun tradition where you gladly give your loose  pesos and tostones (50 centavo coin) to this happy crowd ushering in the New Year.

Karen Vega Becomes The First Oaxacan Model To Grace Pages Of Vogue Mexico

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Karen Vega Becomes The First Oaxacan Model To Grace Pages Of Vogue Mexico

voguemexico/ Instagram

According to the National Commission for the Development of the Indigenous Peoples, Oaxaca has the greatest percentage of indigenous people in Mexico. Making up 48% of the population in Oaxaca, Mexico the indigenous group continues to flourish and influence Mexican culture to this day. And yet, despite their prevalence and contributions, Oaxacans remain sorely underrepresented in Mexico and Latin America. Only recently, with the rising attention towards actress Yalitza Aparicio, have most mainstream outlets featured the indigenous people of Oaxaca on their screens and magazine pages.

Fortunately, that doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Karen Vega broke barriers recently after becoming the first Oaxacan model to be featured in Vogue Mexico

Just 18 years old, the model graced the magazine’s pages and spoke out about the importance of seeing more diversity in the world of fashion. “It is time for new generations to have media that show them expressions of equality and educate them about the differences that make us all beautiful,” Vega told the outlet. “My grain of sand would be to put the focus on the southern woman, our stories, where we come from so that more than just photo models, we can also be an inspiration of another kind.”

According to Vogue Mexico, Vega’s journey began at the age of 14 when she helped her abuelo’s wife with her business as a seamstress.

At the time, Vega helped her measure out the dresses that she made for a local fashion form. According to Vega, she quickly fell in love with the world of fashion and began to dream about modeling as a profession. Using social media sites as her instruction guide, she began to obtain an understanding of what fashion meant. She flipped through the pages of magazines and began connecting with models to understand how to break into the world of modeling. Soon enough, after receiving an invite from the designer Pompi García and the photographer Enrique Leyva to model for part of the production “Magical Realism” in the city of Oaxaca she found herself on the path to a professional career in modeling.

She went on to join García and Leyva’s modeling agency, Talento Espina. The agency strives to represent Oaxacan models and ultimately helped Vega receive an invite to participate in an Autumn-Winter show in Mexico City.

“At first there was a lot of doubt about my participation, because although it was a very nice opportunity, the move and my parents’ confidence to leave was difficult, since it was the first time I was leaving Oaxaca,” Vega told Vogue. Fortunately, Vega’s agency was able to help her older brother come along with her.

Now she’s modeling for big brands like Vogue and says its thanks to her agency which taught her to never tolerate abuse from people who hired her and to speak up. According to Vega, working with her agency has taught her that while pursuing her dreams of modeling will come with its struggles because of her Indigenous origins it’s not at all impossible. 

Someone Claims That They Discovered A Long-Lost Frida Kahlo Painting But Experts Don’t Agree

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Someone Claims That They Discovered A Long-Lost Frida Kahlo Painting But Experts Don’t Agree

Frida Kahlo - La Mesa Herida - The wounded Table - Der verwundete Tisch / YouTube

Frida Kahlo is one of the most iconic artists in global history. The Mexican artist was known for blazing her own path both in art and in society. One of her most famous paintings “The Wounded Table” has been missing for 65 years but one art dealer claims he found it.

A Spanish art dealer claims to have found a long-lost Frida Kahlo painting.

Kahlo painted “The Wounded Table” in 1940 and over the years it disappeared. It is unknown if it was returned to Moscow, was lost, or destroyed. All that is known is that Kahlo’s largest painting to that date is gone.

Cristian López Márquez, a little known art dealer in Spain, claims to have found the long-lost and highly sought after painting. According to La Voz de Galicia, the art dealers claims to have acquired the painting from some who settled in Spain from Mexico.

The painting is one of Kahlo’s most famous works of art.

The decades-long mystery about where the painting ended up does add to the allure of the claim. However, people are not convinced that the painting is a fake that is being peddled by someone who is after money by selling an inauthentic painting. To make matters more skeptical, the art dealer has very few details but is adamant about its authenticity.

“Time will give us the truth,” Márquez told AP. “Whoever proves genuine interest and the ability to pay the figure of 40 million euros, can spend as much time as wanted with their experts analyzing the work.”

Despite Márquez’s claims, art historians are very skeptical that the painting is true.

Márquez claims to have the painting safe in a warehouse in London. He has put the painting on sale asking for $45 million. No one seems to be biting but Márquez continues to say the painting is an original.

READ: Frida Kahlo’s Casa Azul Is Celebrating Her 113th Birthday With A Week Full Of Digital Events