KEEPING TRADITIONS ALIVE
To travel in Querétaro is to meet tradition at every step. From the delicious seasoning of the Ruta del Sabor (Route of Taste), by families from the communities of the Sierra Gorda, to the impressive variety of handicrafts that are made throughout the state, some for generations, tradition is present throughout Querétaro.
The two municipalities with the greatest tradition and roots are undoubtedly Amealco and Tolimán, where indigenous communities still survive, keeping alive the Otomí and Chichimeca traditions, visible in their celebrations, crafts, cuisine and, of course, in the use of their original language.
Today, the Otomi rag dolls, made in the Magic Town of Amealco, belong to the valuable cultural heritage of the state and have become a symbol of the deep cultural roots of the indigenous peoples of the state.
In fact, this cultural recognition has not only turned the spotlight on this peculiar craft, but various families of Otomi origin have made this tradition their main livelihood. The elaboration of these dolls has played an extremely important role in teaching the social roles and values of their culture to new generations for many years. Making these families visible and integrating them into the tourism development of Querétaro has had a positive impact on the survival of their traditions and on the economy of the municipality.
The careful patience and constant work of these families from the communities of Santiago Mexquititlán and San Ildefonso Tultepec, are, as if that weren't enough, an experience that integrates you as a traveler, especially lovers of traditions and rural tourism, since you travel through the bucolic landscapes of Amealco, the endless prairies and go inside this beautiful municipality to reach the workshop houses where these peculiar crafts are made.
The warmth of the people, the innumerable specimens; children, youth and adults dedicated to this tradition that produces up to 300 thousand dolls per year in the entire municipality, is something worth seeing and taking home, just a part of the Otomi culture of Querétaro!
The variety is amazing. The indigenous people, also aware of the current times, have given different motives to these traditions, giving them a touch of "Catrinas", typical of the celebration of the Day of the Dead; or even of "Fridas" in honor of the famous Mexican painter, but the most impressive thing is the details of their weavings, heritage of their culture and that distinguish these communities.
The women of these indigenous peoples can still be seen on the roads of Amealco, at the head of Amealco, and even in the city of Querétaro, wearing their typical dresses, represented in these handmade dolls, which keeps alive the coexistence of different cultures in this region of Querétaro.
Did you know that tourism in the Magic Town of Amealco has doubled in these years, thanks to the impact of these curious Otomi dolls? This is the size of Lele and Donxü, the Otomi names of the two main artisan dolls, one originating in Santiago Mexquititlán, the other from San Ildefonso Tultepec; and although only one has been around the world as ambassador of the state of Querétaro, both are invaluable in the indigenous roots of Amealco.
In other parts of the state, the traditions of indigenous peoples have also been kept alive, but in a different way: through religious celebrations.
In 2009, UNESCO recognized the set of religious celebrations and rites that continue to take place in the municipality of Tolimán as Memorias y Tradiciones Vivas Otomí-Chichimecas, perhaps the most important designation for the indigenous peoples and communities of Querétaro, as it attests to the importance of their ancient traditions to this day.
To attend these celebrations is to immerse oneself in the religious fervor, a mixture of the syncretism of the Catholic faith and the pre-Hispanic nuances that survived the times. The 'Levantamiento del Chimal ' is the most important religious celebration, related to the Holy Cross festivities, in the middle of September, where during three days, dances, masses and above all, rituals with a marked pre-Hispanic influence take place in the diverse family chapels in the Tolimense communities, where they thank and celebrate the memory of their ancestors.