The men are clad in spotless white linen and hats. The women wear bodices, blouses and skirts embellished with colorful embroidery. Behind them, also in white, brass musicians coax melodies from their instruments, while the percussionists create a Latin, quasi-Cuban beat unlike any you will hear in Mexico. Not surprising: In Merida, in the heart of the Yucatan Peninsula, you can already smell the sand and surf of the Caribbean.
Everything is relaxed, as if the heat itself had spoken, ordering everyone to slow down. To this image, add colorful streets and manageable cities, where life takes place in the streets when the sun goes down and the squares brim with people strolling and enjoying their own distinctive take on Mexican cuisine, one of the most exquisite in the country: salbutes, panuchos, papadzul and the ever-present chili. Where would Mexico be without the chili pepper?
Mexican Music, For All Generations
And in a country where music for so many means mariachi bands, the jaranas remain unchanged by time, with their almost-daily dances that bring the generations together, a tradition still authentic perhaps because it is not well known. ‘Jarana,’ according to the dictionary, is something like ‘raucous revelry.’ By and for themselves. Though, should you stop by, you will not feel out of place, as hospitality is possibly Mexico’s greatest calling card.
Photo | Ignacio Izquierdo