On Saturday, Oct. 29 I was in downtown Oaxaca snapping pictures of preparations for the days of the dead. As I drew up to the plaza in front of Sto. Domingo church, I encountered a milling group of cheerful, well-dressed people, including this pint-sized trio ~
Then I heard a band strike up on the street at the side of the church. Nothing to do but go see, right?
What's being celebrated? Ah -- a clue: see the two giant figures in the far left of the picture? Well, you can only see one clearly, but they're a bride and a groom.
That was a nice interlude, but let me get back to what I was doing. I retrace my steps toward the front of Santo Domingo, pausing briefly to admire the facade of the side of the church ~
But hey ~~ what's this? Here are more gorgeously attired beauties, this time two Tehuanas and two in the traditional dress from Huautla de Jiménez, which is in a completely different part of the state. The people from Huautla are Mazatecs, whereas the Isthmus is a Zapotec region.
They have the same kind of favor basket, but they must be attached to ......... yaay, another wedding!
This is not the bride, but one of her attendants. Note all the non-invitees enjoying the spectacle ~
And here comes our very elegant bride now, on the arm of her dapper dad ~
But what's this? Everyone seems to be beaming with pleasure and pride except for grandmother, whose evil eye I wouldn't want fixed on me.
"Aw, come on, Ma -- lighten up. This is a great day."
"Whooo! Sheesh, Ma -- language!"
It seems to be my day for catching unpleasant expressions. Watch it lady -- you'll break my camera!
Yeah, I was totally tickled to see them all dressed up and cutting a rug. That couple was exiting the church, though. Sto. Domingo is in demand for fancy weddings. The dancers were leaving and that next group was going in.
Yes, on bringing out the finery for special occasions, but lemme tell you, they have a lot of special occasions. If you look at any of my market threads from the city of Oaxaca, you'll see the everyday version of this elaborate dress. There are quite a few places selling cheap versions of the jewelry, too, as not everyone can accumulate that much gold. But I'd bet my last bullion bar that the mothers, grandmothers & aunts in that 2nd wedding party are wearing the real thing.
Yes, those butterfly-like attendants were a vision. Boy, they stood like that for a long time before the wedding party entered the church.
What a lovely event to stumble upon! I adore those colorful floral dresses, the ornate gold jewelry, and the lacy headdresses of the bridesmaids. Everything is a visual feast. The women are indeed lovely, and I admire the bridesmaids smilingly carrying out their duty. I've been a bridesmaid several times and I didn't have to stand at attention like that!
I agree, the older lady does look rather sour-faced. Her expression certainly doesn't match her bright, festive attire and the beautiful occasion she is witnessing.
Sometimes in downtown Oaxaca, it seems some colorful event is taking place around every corner.
Thanks so much for your comments -- it's so much more fun making these threads when there's feedback saying they're worthwhile.
One note about the bridesmaids ......... I'm calling the young women in white "attendants" because I don't know what they really are, nor do I know if they're a traditional part of weddings in the Isthmus. The "real" bridesmaids are those model-like blue-clad women standing in the door of the church in the 2nd pic of Reply #3, then entering the church further down. I count six of them -- fancy wedding!
Oh wow Bixa - I have just found this totally fantastic photo - essay of yours! Fab photos and SO interesting. I loved the little trio of children. Especially the boy looking down to check his shoes were polished and shiny....?! Those white lace headdresses are very beautiful and I guess a ton of starch was sprayed on to keep them upright. The elegant woman ( who looks like she may be the brides mother/maybe sister, is wearing Thai silk) I think. As you move it changes colour slightly - too beautiful!
Thanks, Tod! I assume you're referring to the dress in the last pic of reply #1, right? Yes, I see what you mean about its color changing properties.
About that headdress -- It's called a resplandor, but I'm still trying to find more information on how that tradition came about. One site, in Spanish, says that it's actually a blouse adapted for wearing on the head!
I read this thread right from the start, but I have had trouble formulating ideas about it. It should be a lovely event, but so many people look uncomfortable all dressed up (not all of them, though), even though they put on a brave face.
Of course I find it all wonderfully exotic, but I have reached a stage in my life where I will never again attend an event that requires getting dressed up. I have not worn a tie to work in about 7 years, and the other night I dreamed that I went to the office wearing a tie -- it was a total nightmare. I will never fit in.
Actually, all those ties, suits, & long dresses are an indication of the rather lofty economic class of the participants.
Fortunately for all those men like you, who prefer not to tighten a strip of cloth around their necks, there is the guayabera. It comes in versions suitable for dressy, informal, or in-between occasions.
I love the pics. I like dressing up once in a while. Nowadays, the only occasions seem to be weddings. I would prefer a little more formality in daily life also. Nothing restrictive but I am tired of seeing jeans and tees for almost every occasion.
I love the serendipity of stumbling upon occasions like this. It's happened to me and Mr. Kimby a few times while travelling, weddings and funerals and a candlelit processions through a tiny village and a medieval-costumed procession through Gubbio, Italia.
It's fascinating how all the participants and bystanders overlap in the depth of field of the photos. Looks like bixa's first bride plays not only trombone, but drums, too!
Something religious, no doubt. I remember we were with a car and driver and all traffic came to a halt. Since we couldn't beat them, we decided to join them, leaving the driver to follow behind. Right now I can't remember what country, could be either Burma, Vietnam or Laos, the only places we've hired a car and driver...
The updated additions are lovely but are unsurpassed by the original "postcards" which I somehow, as with many threads on here I missed. (all the more reason why I really encourage people to explore more into threads that unfortunately get overlooked most undeservedly. I include myself in this, so many true gems of the slices of life one will never see or experience anywhere outside their own culture).
I am struck by the opening photo in this thread Bixa. Truly "postcard" perfect along with some others. Such a joyful culture you are surrounded by and, it never seems to "get old" despite its seeming replication.
Great snaps Bixa - I do wish the bride was carrying the beautiful arrangement of flowers on the car bonnet instead of her tiny bouquet of mismatched colors. Almost as if they grabbed the left overs and bunched them together. The little old lady with the ice cream cart probably loves her job - instead of rotting inside four walls she is out chatting up the public. For many old people retirement is death.
I really encourage people to explore more into threads that unfortunately get overlooked ...
I couldn't agree with you more. I think the best thing is to make a habit of clicking on Recent Threads in the bar beneath the anyport logo. For instance, renewing this thread wound up covering up Tod's excellent Port Elizabeth thread, but a click on Recent Threads reveals it.
Yeah, I like that discreetly sized bouquet, although I doubt it's homemade. Even the markets have very reasonably priced florists who will whip up whatever you want. The small bouquet and the bride's natural hairstyle allowed the her happiness and the loveliness of her dress to shine, plus avoided that groom-eclipsing bridal look that now seems so prevalent.
I see a little Audrey Hepburn in the last photo in number 18. She's even got her handbag on her arm, something you don't see often these days except on the most elegant ladies. At first I thought her hands were clasped in delight at the kiss, but she seems to be looking off to the side. Is there a junior Mel Ferrer in her sights?
The women wearing braids have hair as shiny and satiny as the ribbons running through them.