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Mixtec of San Agustín Tlacotepec
Figure of ram woven from palm fiber

San Agustín Tlacotepec is a municipality to the east southeast of Tlaxiaco, along the highway to Chalcatongo. San Agustín has a high emigration rate, with many people who make their home in Mexico City, but they show a strong loyalty toward their native town. There is a mural of high artistic quality in the town hall that shows the history and traditions of the town beginning from the prehispanic period; there is also a series of paintings that treat the same themes on the walls of the town auditorium. A native of Tlacotepec, Abel Reyes Sánchez, published a book entitled Sakramá in 2000; this book includes a number of stories and legends of the town (Mexico City: Ateneo de la Educación y la Cultura Indígena).

Another instance of the traditional culture of the town is seen in the Dance of the Moors and Christians, which is enacted each year at the time of the fiesta for the patron saint on August 28th. There are many participants with elaborate costumes, as can be seen in the photograph, which was taken at the fiesta in 2004. Many of the emigrants who live in Mexico City take part in this dance and contribute toward the expenses involved.

Dance of the Moors and Christians

Still another example of the traditional culture is found in the cat song. This song dates from the Colonial period. It has Mixtec words and a tune that is probably of European origin. It makes fun of the Spanish culture, and it is somewhat picaresque and quite funny. Three versions of this song have been published, one in Reyes Sánchez’ book (pp. 89–97), and two on this site.

Barbara E. Hollenbach

Publications available on this site

Other pages about this variety of Mixtec

Links to other sites