Culture

Indigenous Communities In Mexico Are Giving Traditional Clothes To Dogs To Help Them Stay Warm This Winter

Covering Mexican news in the past few years has become a difficult job, particularly if you love this amazing country but are also aware of the many socioeconomic problems, crime and overall struggle that the United States’ southern neighbour has faced in recent decades due to drug cartels, corrupt governments and pressure from global markets. So every once in a while our hearts receive an apapacho with stories that reveal how solidarity and plain old human awesomeness are also part of the Mexican psyche. And of course a touch of creativity also leads to memorable moments in which kindness, often among the most vulnerable sections of the population, shines even more. 

Look at this doggie, all warm in this traditional dress from Yucatan. But the story behind the cute photo will get you thinking.

Credit: Mexico News Daily

So the story goes like this: a street dog in the southern state of Yucatan was suffering from the dropping temperatures, shaking as its bones were visible in her super thin fur coat. The dog’s name is Polita and she was given a traditional dress called huipil by the artisans of the town of Ticul.

As reported by Mexico News Daily, a local resident posted a photo on Facebook and since then the image has gone viral. “So that she doesn’t suffer from the cold, the little dog with her huipil. It’s worth sharing and making her go viral”, read the caption in the now famous photo. Ticul is located around 100 km south of the state capital city of Mérida. The majority of the population is of Maya heritage. It is such a heartwarming photo, even more so if we consider how vulnerable indigenous Mexicans, such as the huipil-making saints, still are in contemporary Mexico. 

But you might now that there is actually a day in which some Catholic Mexicans get their pets dressed in all sorts of amazing traditional costumes.

Every January 17 Mexican Catholics celebrate San Antonio Abad, the patron saint of animals. And every year large numbers of the faithful take their pets to church to get a blessing from the local padrecito. But of course the occasion needs to be solemn, so owners get their pets dressed in what passes as haute couture, all for the sake of cuteness…. and faith. 

Some costumes are more traditional than others, but they are all dolled up!

We wonder that is going through their canine minds while being showered in holy water… 

And just look at those chicken dresses in the town of Taxco.

We love the Zoolander duck face on this chicken. It knows it got swag and it flaunts it! 

And for some there is never a lost opportunity to show their devotion for a soccer team.

We can just imagine this dude watching soccer on a Sunday afternoon and cheleando with his two chihuahuas on his lap, wearing those cute tiny jerseys. Ternuritas. 

Is that a rastafari dog in Guerrero?

This is actually like an animal cosplay contest celebrated on San Antonio Abad day in Guerrero, Mexico. We don’t know if a Jamaican rastafari costume qualifies as traditional in Mexico, but the little fur ball sure looks cute, right? And look at the elegant little black dog to the right, with his royal attire, all ready to rule the world. 

A little Mexican kitsch nunca viene de sobra

We love the sarape and the hat on this tiny fella. And that hat must sure cover him from the scalding Guerrero sun. 

Is this princesa peluda about to celebrate her XV?

OMG, just look at her, al regal and ready to dance a smooth waltz. And look, she has got a chambelan and everything. And look at the surprise in the faces of those passersby. 

Si Adelita se fuera con otro… 

We love this little model in the style of the Mexican Revolution and its legendary female fighters, called Adelitas or soldaderas. Fierceness and cuteness in a cute little package. This photo is also from one of the contests organized in the town of Taxco (by the way, this town is a must for anyone visiting the country). 

How on Earth did they get those tiny chicks in those dresses?

We just hope that the little ones are OK. The craft needed for that tiny church is just admirable. Wow.

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A Tourist Was Arrested For Illegally Climbing Up The Pyramid of Kukulkán

Culture

A Tourist Was Arrested For Illegally Climbing Up The Pyramid of Kukulkán

Jon G. Fuller / VW PICS / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

It is important to be a responsible tourist. This means following rules, acting responsibly, and not violating sacred places. That is something one tourist learned the hard way when she climbed the Pyramid of Kukulkán in Chichén Itzá.

Here’s the video of a tourist running down the steps of the Pyramid of Kukulkán.

The Pyramid of Kukulkán is one of the most iconic examples of Pre-Hispanic architecture and culture in Mesoamerica. The UNESCO World Heritage Site is one of the most visited archeological sites in Mexico. In 2017, more than 2 million visitors descended on the site.

Of course, #LadyKukulkan started to trend on Twitter.

You know that Twitter was ready to start calling out this woman for her actions. According to Yucatán Expat Life Magazine, the woman was there to honor her husband’s dying wish. The woman, identified as a tourist from Tijuana, wanted to spread her husband’s ashes on the top of the pyramid, which it seems that she did.

The video was a moment for Mexican Twitter.

Not only was she arrested by security when she descended, but the crowd was also clearly against her. Like, what was she even thinking? It isn’t like the pyramid is crawling with tourists all over it. She was the only person climbing the pyramid, which is federally owned and cared for.

The story is already sparking ideas for other people when they die.

“Me: (to my parents) Have you read about #ladykukulkan?
My Dad: Yes! (to my mom) When I die, I want you to scatter my ashes in the National Palace so they call you “Lady Palace,” sounds better, no?” wrote @hania_jh on Twitter.

READ: Mexico’s Version Of Burning Man Became A COVID-19 Super-Spreader Event Thanks To U.S. Tourists

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These Women Created A Cookbook That Honors Victims of Mexico’s Violence With Their Favorite Recipes

Things That Matter

These Women Created A Cookbook That Honors Victims of Mexico’s Violence With Their Favorite Recipes

FRANCISCO ROBLES/AFP via Getty Images

Despite a slight change in strategy in combatting the country’s endemic violence, Mexico continues to see a staggering degree of violence plaguing communities. Although the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, promised sweeping changes that would help pacify the country – violence has continues to spiral out of control, reaching record levels in 2020.

No where is this more evident than in the communities that have lost dozens or even hundreds of loved ones. Many of these communities have formed search brigades to help try and find their loved ones (or their remains) but they’re also getting creative with the ways in which they work to remember those they’ve lost.

A search brigade publishes a recipe book containing their loved ones’ favorite foods.

A group of women who came together to help locate the remains of their loved ones, have worked together on a new project to help remember their loved ones. Together, they have created Recipes to Remember, a book of favourite dishes of some of the missing. Each dish has the name of the person it was made for and the date they disappeared. It was the idea of Zahara Gómez Lucini, a Spanish-Argentine photographer who has documented the group since 2016.

The women are known as the Rasteadoras, and they’ve literally been digging to uncover graves of Mexico’s missing. Now, they’re finding ways to help remember those who have gone missing. The book is a way to strengthen the community and as one of the mothers told The Financial Times, “the book is a tool for building ties.”

“This recipe book is very important because it’s an exercise in collective memory and that’s very necessary,” says Enrique Olvera, the chef and restaurateur behind Pujol in Mexico City and Cosme in New York and a sponsor of the book. “It enables the Rastreadoras to connect with the memory of their loved ones through food and brings us, the readers, closer … It weaves empathy,” he told the Financial Times.

Many of these women came to know each other as they searched for their missing loved ones.

The women – who are mostly housewives in their 40s and 50s – literally scour the nearby grasslands, deserts, and jungles with shovels in hands hoping to make a discovery.

Their “treasures” are among the more than 82,000 people recorded as having disappeared and not been located in Mexico since 2006, when the government declared a war on drug cartels, unleashing terrible, seemingly unstoppable violence. Notwithstanding Covid-19, 2020 may prove to have been the deadliest year on record. As of November there had been 31,871 murders, compared with a record 34,648 in 2019.

Their stories of loss are heartbreaking.

One of the mothers, Jessica Higuera Torres, speaks of her son Jesús Javier López Higuera, who disappeared in 2018, in the present tense. For the book, she prepared a soup with pork rind because “he loves it — when I was cooking, I felt as though he was by my side.”

On the other hand, Esther Preciado no longer cooks chile ribs, her recipe for her daughter’s father, Vladimir Castro Flores, who has been missing since 2013. “That one’s just for the memories now,” she says.

“You get addicted to searching,” she adds. The 120 or so Rastreadoras have found 68 people, but only about a quarter of those are their missing loved ones. She acknowledges many victims may have got into trouble because they sold or used drugs; others were just in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Mexico’s missing person problem continues to plague the country.

Since taking office in 2018, the government of President López Obrador has stepped up efforts to locate missing people and identify bodies. It says the number of reported disappearances for 2020 was trending down. But the government acknowledged in November that in 2019, a record 8,804 people had been reported missing and not been found.

According to official data, Mexico has counted 4,092 clandestine graves and exhumed 6,900 bodies since 2006. Sinaloa is notorious as the home of Joaquín “El Chapo” Guzmán, once Mexico’s most powerful drug baron, now locked up in a maximum-security jail in the U.S. The city of Los Mochis, where the Rastreadoras are based, is currently in the grip of Fausto Isidro Meza Flores, known as El Chapo Isidro.

The Rastreadoras acknowledge that they’re on their own, turning to the authorities for help is not an option. As shown in the mass disappearance of 43 Mexican students in 2014, which rocked the country, municipal police have a terrible reputation for being infiltrated by cartels. “They won’t help us — they’re the same ones who are involved,” scoffs Reyna Rodríguez Peñuelas, whose son, Eduardo González Rodríguez, disappeared in 2016.

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