|First Friday in March 2006, Brujo Convention
(1er Viernes de Marzo 2006)
|The first day: Tuesday Evening
5pm. According to my spy, a dozen cars and not many more spectators showed up for
The second day: Wednesday
The event perked up somewhat. Brujos and artesania (handicraft) sellers had their
stalls ready, and many photographers and film crews were disappointed by the
inauguration because the promised arrival of the Veracruz governor did not happen.
Idle brujos and want-to be´s lounged in front of their tents, offering discounted 100
peso limpias (spiritual cleansings).
Some of the limited Catemaco area handicraft producers also offered their wares, most
notably, an interesting wine made from the chochogo fruit in Lopez Mateos.
As the sun set, African jungle drums blared through the loud speakers, and the
presence of about a dozen lovely hostesses in beach wear helped create a festive
atmosphere for the fire lit early evening action.
The third day: Thursday
The morning lecture was changed to an afternoon lecture and both were cancelled,
probably because no one, except for me, showed up to listen.
By sundown the municipal events liven up, the postponed lecturer on the history of
Brujo conventions delivered his speech, all the pretty hostesses stood in line, the
parking lot filled and The Ballet Folklorico from Centla started exciting the non-paying
crowd. The imitation volcano almost caught real fire, and the colorful stage, fire lit
surrounding huts, smoke, sky lights and the brilliant dancers set up a festive mood for
the following events scheduled until 1:30 Friday very early morning, (el primer
viernes en Marzo)..
One of the local chief Brujos, Pedro Gueixpal, rented one of those ubiquitous Catemaco
advertising mediums, a car with loud speakers, promising a "misa negra " (black mass)
at midnight attended by his fellow major brujos, which mostly ignored the event so far,
and occurring at his brujo lair, not the Fair Ground.
As for a procession to Cerro Mono Blanco, or the frequent voodoo party at Nanciyaga,
not one word was heard.
I left at 10, Right now it´s 11pm, and my spy tells me a human tree with 3 foot long feet
is cluttering the stage and the jarocheros are restless to perform their music.
So I Ievitated and checked out what´s going on around midnight, aside from every
house in Catemaco apparently burning incense.
Sure, enough Brujo Tito Gueixpal is holding a competing black mass, calling the other
event a simulacrum, but also charging 500 pesos for Limpias.
Other brujos, too, have their doors open.
Meanwhile the band stand at the Fair Ground is jumping with Caribbean dancers, and
the starving vendors are packing up their stalls.
I will not hang around for the Fair Ground´s version of a purification ceremony at 1:30
am and I am too cheap to pay 500 pesos for a Gueixpal Limpia, which as a foreigner,
one should probably expect to pay for a "genuine" midnight mass, massacred chicken
The fourth day: Friday, 3rd of March 2006
Aside from re opening of the Fair Ground, to give the vendors and brujos another
chance at some pesos, nothing else is scheduled.
Apparently someone in Catemaco got the idea to have a late party on the Fair Grounds.
My only spy who attended is still asleep.
Nanciyaga saved the day by having its traditional night ceremony.
Friday, Saturday & Sunday
Any tourist showing up on the first Friday of March in Catemaco, will still have an
opportunity to participate in some brujo events in Tres Zapotes, an ancient Olmec
capital, about an hour and a half away from Catemaco.
|This is a very subjective review of the 2006 event. In 2007,8.9, the shenanigans were much better organized. 2010 was
great except for the deemphasis of brujos.
Usually Nanciyaga saves the day by staging a ritual ceremony.
|In Catemaco, Veracruz, the first Friday in March occurred on a
It takes a government organization to turn a 1 day event into a 4
day yawn and forget to have a program for the one day,
Viernes (Friday), when hundreds of web pages and newspaper
articles have been publicizing the event for many years.
And to add insult to injury, instead of beautiful downtown
Catemaco, which at this time of year is empty of tourism, the
event is held at the Catemaco Fair Grounds, which a tourist
needs to be a magician to find.
In addition, many of the professional brujos of Catemaco
distanced themselves from the event, possibly because of
previous problems with the city government.
|(txt in Spanish)