What do you do when you see a mariachi band, a donkey with jugs full of tequila and a group of people dancing in the streets of the Mexican city, Zacatecas? You follow them! This is what my boyfriend and I discovered, one evening while exploring the cobbled streets of this traditional, colonial city.
The historical district of Zacatecas is home to a number of stunning pink stoned churches and monasteries, decorated in detailed, colonial sculptures. There are also a number of large plazas, with fountains, statues and seats, which are ideal places for curious tourists to catch a glimpse at the life of passing local Mexicans. It was at one of these plazas that my boyfriend, Michael and I, stumbled across a group of people dancing, laughing and singing along to a mariachi band.
“Awesome! A local street party, maybe today is a local holiday or a festival. Let’s check it out.” I said excitedly to Michael.
We watched as the mariachi band play; the sounds of the violin, guitars and trumpets filled the air. The band wore matching traditional, but very bright and colorful clothes. Their banana yellow sombreros danced in the cool breeze, in time with the music. Michael and I bobbed along at a safe distance, too embarrassed to join in dancing to this unfamiliar music. Suddenly the band started to walk off, and headed down a small side alley. The melody of Mexican folk music lingered in the air, as the group of people followed, still singing, dancing, laughing and drinking. We decided to follow.
During the walk we started to talk to a Mexican couple that now lived in California, they informed us that we had actually joined a wedding party celebration. Embarrassed, we apologized and went to leave, they both however insisted we meet the newly weds. Before we could object, we had met the newly weds, were given a shot glass each, a bag of sliced limes and a separate small bag of salt, and I was on my forth tequila shot, wondering how on Earth everyone was still standing.
By the end of the night, I had met the whole wedding party; experienced some of the best hospitality of my life; had been invited to the traditional church ceremony being held the following day; and had drunk my weight in tequila. I had also learnt that traditional Mexicans celebrated their wedding day over multiple days, and with multiple different celebration events. One of the wedding celebrations involved walking around the streets of a Mexican town with all your wedding guests, with a donkey carrying several jugs of tequila, and with a full mariachi band, and to just drink and dance the night away – probably to this day, still the most Mexican thing I have ever learnt.
I would never know how any of the wedding guests made it to the church the next day, the bride and groom included. By the end of the night we had finished off all the tequila, and even cleared out all the beer and wine in a local tienda (shop). I don’t recall seeing one sober person at the end of the night; then again, the end of the night is a bit of a blur, and I hardly remember the walk back to the hostel. I woke up the next day reeking of tequila and burritos, with one of the worse hangovers of the entire trip, hugging a toilet bowl and swearing that I would not go anywhere near another shot of tequila again (which to this day I still have managed to avoid – true at time of writing).
Mas fotos de Mexico aqui!