Things That Matter

For The First Time In 500 Years, Mexico’s Famed Guerrero Market Is Closing And It’s Having A Huge Impact On The Community

Mexico is home to thriving mercados that provide much of the nation’s beautiful and diverse produce to locals across the country. From Mexico City’s famed La Merced (once the largest market in the Americas) to La Ciudadela (the place to get artisan Mexican goods) – these markets have been a lifeline to both vendors and consumers for hundreds of years.

Several mercados predate the arrival of Europeans to the country and are steeped in rich traditions. One such mercado that has been around – and in continuous operation – for more than 500 years is the Chilapa Sunday tianguis in Mexico’s Guerrero state. But now, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic, it’s been forced to close its doors for the first time in its history.

The closure of the Guerrero Market will have severe repercussions for the community.

Raul Barragán / Flickr

The Chilapa municipal government notified the more than 1,000 vendors who set up their booths under the plastic tarps each Sunday that the tianguis would be cancelled as of yesterday, and would remain closed for the two following Sundays.

The pandemic had already begun to take its toll on the weekly flow of goods in Chilapa, as the number of visitors has decreased dramatically during the crisis. For weeks, the market ran at minimum capacity, covering local demand but little more. Often vendors could barely sell of more than a quarter of the goods they were bringing.

Now the subsistence farmers, artisans and other local and regional merchants who depend on the tianguis for their livelihood don’t even have the option to barter their goods, a custom that is still practiced in this and other such markets in Mexico.

One of the oldest markets in Mexico, the Chilapa tianguis has persisted in spite of adversity, especially during the last decade, due to drug-related violence.

Credit: omgitsjustintime / Instagram

The situation came to a head in 2014 when the violence severely slowed down market activity, but did not stop it completely. Many rural transportation companies suspended services, making it difficult for farmers to make it to the city to sell their goods. Others never returned: they were either killed or fled the insecurity.

The violence kept market activity to a minimum for years, but nothing was able to stop it completely, until now.

The crisis has hit those in the informal economy hard.

Credit: Raul Barragán / Flickr

The coronavirus is gutting economies around the world, but the damage is proving particularly damaging in Mexico, a country that was already in a slump before the pandemic hit.

Some street vendors in Baja California Sur have even resorted to bartering directly for food to survive in the absence of the tourists on which they depend for sales. Such vendors commonly earn just enough for them and their families to get by day to day and do not have the option to wait out the Covid-19 pandemic in home isolation.

“I need food in order to feed my children, that’s why I’m exchanging my hats for food,” said Margarita, a street vendor originally from Oaxaca, told Mexico News Daily. She supports her family by selling woven sunhats from Oaxaca, Guerrero and Puebla.

The vendors in Los Cabos aren’t the only ones in the country who have had to adapt to the caprice of the Covid-19 pandemic. Street merchants from Acapulco to Cuernavaca to Mazatlán have been changing out their normal products for face masks in order to meet demand and be able to get by.

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Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

Things That Matter

Mexico City Could Soon Change Its Name To Better Embrace Its Indigenous Identity

PEDRO PARDO/AFP via Getty Images

Mexico City is the oldest surviving capital city in all of the Americas. It also is one of only two that actually served as capitals of their Indigenous communities – the other being Quito, Ecuador. But much of that incredible history is washed over in history books, tourism advertisements, and the everyday hustle and bustle of a city of 21 million people.

Recently, city residents voted on a non-binding resolution that could see the city’s name changed back to it’s pre-Hispanic origin to help shine a light on its rich Indigenous history.

Mexico City could soon be renamed in honor of its pre-Hispanic identity.

A recent poll shows that 54% of chilangos (as residents of Mexico City are called) are in favor of changing the city’s official name from Ciudad de México to México-Tenochtitlán. In contrast, 42% of respondents said they didn’t support a name change while 4% said they they didn’t know.

Conducted earlier this month as Mexico City gears up to mark the 500th anniversary of the fall of the Aztec empire capital with a series of cultural events, the poll also asked respondents if they identified more as Mexicas, as Aztec people were also known, Spanish or mestizo (mixed indigenous and Spanish blood).

Mestizo was the most popular response, with 55% of respondents saying they identified as such while 37% saw themselves more as Mexicas. Only 4% identified as Spaniards and the same percentage said they didn’t know with whom they identified most.

The poll also touched on the city’s history.

The ancient city of Tenochtitlán.

The same poll also asked people if they thought that the 500th anniversary of the Spanish conquest of Tenochtitlán by Spanish conquistadoresshould be commemorated or forgotten, 80% chose the former option while just 16% opted for the latter.

Three-quarters of respondents said they preferred areas of the the capital where colonial-era architecture predominates, such as the historic center, while 24% said that they favored zones with modern architecture.

There are also numerous examples of pre-Hispanic architecture in Mexico City including the Templo Mayor, Tlatelolco and Cuicuilco archaeological sites.

Tenochtitlán was one of the world’s most advanced cities when the Spanish arrived.

Tenochtitlán, which means “place where prickly pears abound” in Náhuatl, was founded by the Mexica people in 1325 on an island located on Lake Texcoco. The legend goes that they decided to build a city on the island because they saw the omen they were seeking: an eagle devouring a snake while perched on a nopal.

At its peak, it was the largest city in the pre-Columbian Americas. It subsequently became a cabecera of the Viceroyalty of New Spain. Today, the ruins of Tenochtitlán are in the historic center of the Mexican capital. The World Heritage Site of Xochimilco contains what remains of the geography (water, boats, floating gardens) of the Mexica capital.

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Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

Entertainment

Met Gala 2021 Is Happening And Amanda Gorman Is Set To Host The America-Themed Fashion Event

Alex Wong/Getty Images

It’s 2021 and the Met Gala is back this year – after being canceled in 2020 thanks to a pandemic – with superstar poet Amanda Gorman being eyed to host the fashion event of the year. Given the 23-year-old’s show-stopping performance at the inauguration, the theme fittingly will be a celebration of America and American designers.

The Met Gala will return in 2021 with a very special guest as host.

Vogue’s “Oscars of Fashion” famously takes place on the first Monday of May. However, this year it’s been pushed back to September 13, in hopes that life will have returned to something closer to normal by then.

Epic poet Amanda Gorman is reportedly in talks to co-host the event alongside Tom Ford, who is the academy’s president. The breakout star of President Biden’s inauguration, Gorman is on the cover of the magazine’s May issue and the subject of a relentlessly glowing profile inside.

The black-tie gala, which raises funds for Met’s Costume Institute, is normally fashion’s biggest night and sees guests from Lady Gaga, Jennifer Lopez and Cardi B to Jeff Bezos, Elon Musk and even Maluma.

The event was canceled in 2020 thanks to a global pandemic.

The world’s most glamorous party was canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19, which was (and still is) raging the planet at the time. There was a virtual event in place of the 2020 event, with celebs like Julia Roberts, Priyanka Chopra and Amanda Seyfried showing off their looks from home and stars like Mindy Kaling and Adam Rippon taking part in the #MetGalaChallenge, recreating looks from past years.

This year’s event will draw inspiration from all things USA.

The theme of this year’s Met Gala has not been announced, but Page Six says the night will be devoted to honoring America and American designers, following the 18-month-long COVID crisis in this country.

Recent past themes for the event have included “Camp: Notes on Fashion” (2019), “Heavenly Bodies: Fashion and the Catholic Imagination” (2018), and “Rei Kawakubo/Comme des Garçons: Art of the In-Between (2017). And don’t forget 2016, when Zayn Malik wore robot-arms to Manus x Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.

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