Coatepec, magic town
August 1, 2016
by Cristie Mtz
Coatepec is located 8 km south of the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico. With an altitude of 1,250 meters above sea level, with a temperate climate. Its main agricultural production is coffee, of national prestige, followed by banana, mango and other tropical fruits.
It is characterized by its large houses built in Andalusian style with beautiful interior gardens. Its streets the aroma of roasted coffee is perceived.
His fame as a coffee town arose when the arabica coffee seed was brought from Cuba to the Zimpizahua´s Plantation in 1808 to be planted in fertile soil. Now it is considered the most traditional coffee growing and quality area in the country.
Where to go
Some of the landmarks of Coatepec are, Wines Bautista, with the sale of “toritos”, a traditional beverage in flavors like coffee, nanche, vanilla and orange. Museum Café-Tal-Apan, which is dedicated to the spread of coffee production. La Mata Museum, an European style building from the XX century; it was at the time the place that became the profit space of largest coffee of America (still retains original machinery). The Orduña´s ex plantation is dedicated to the production of sugar cane and rum, now has lodging and restaurant service. Similarly, the traditional restaurant La Frida Coatepec, with typical dishes such as mole xiqueño and trout in various preparations.
One of the great coffee plantations in the región, still active, is the Trianon´s Plantation, which comes from the year 1901.
Restaurants occupy their old houses, offering a glimpse through their gates and discover delicious regional dishes: mole, chileatole, mexican dishes, red meat, acamayas sauce, trout and shellfish. For dessert, there is nothing like a delicious lemon ice served with orange leaves in the manner of spoons, jamoncillos and chocolates. And for the desktop should not miss a cup of coffee, the sweet aroma can be accompanied with a masafina, cottage chees bread baked in a wood oven.
In the región of Coatepec, agricultural practices were inserted in an extend period of nine moons or months, marked turn in a series of activities peculiar religious carácter of popular worship. Which they have been modified in recent decades by changes in economic, religious and cultural matters, along with the integration of foreign population since the late twetieth century.
The background of all syncretic demonstrations in the downtown area of Veracruz, have their origins in the very process of evangelization which took place from the Franciscan Convent of Xalapa. Base on the references of the Florentine Codex, it is known to ordinarily attended the convent four monks, who were responsabile to serve a number of totonac communities, settled in the Cañado of Actopan with the nahua people to Ixhuacan de los Reyes.
Currently, we can see the number of survivals around the mixture of ancient indigeous practices and catholic worship in a series of events that take place between the beginning of the agricultural cycle in February ans its climax with the series of offerings at the end of October and early November in connection with the cult of the dead. So that through the ancient practices we can approach the Mesoamerican-catholic syncretic concepts that have managed to continue for more than four hundred years.
San Jeronimo Festivity
In mid-september start the preparations for the feast day of San Jeronimo (patron saint of Coatepec) such as: getting logs that will make poles for ornamental arches, rods or failing bamboo for the frames and week before the festival, they will take place tours to different places in order to get plants and flowers that will make up the ornaments.
In several documentary sources of the sixteenth century, especially those that were wirtten by the franciscan friars, it is recorded in detail the number of indigenous religious practices that took place in the festivities to their gods. One of them was enramar the entrances to temples, with frames of sticks or redes, which forage and flowers adorned with framed porches. This practice survived in the festivities, ans this tradition was limited to the shape of the arch of the porches of the churches, a trait that was maintained throughout the colonial period in various parts of Mexican territory and probably without major changes until the early XX century when apparently a number of modifications as are presented: the use of certain materials, variability in ornaments and especially a significant change in the size of the structures, which were extended to completely cover the facades of Catholic churches. Currently it is the common benchmark for most populations, where the practice of honoring their patron saints day his feast is kept.
In regard to the materials used in the making of the “arches”, it remains the bait of going to collect these ítems to distant places. Together, these materials are combined to create true floral mosaics and are a sign of wit and fervor of those involved in the manufacture of “Arcos de San Jeronimo”.
Today, people participate with greater enthusiasm in the festival, and some practices had their origin in the year 1995, when the period of drought worsened in the region, especially since the event is limited to the season rainy, and the constant was that it rained during the “bow down”.
Also during this celebration, the people of this town congregate at five o’clock on the streets of Arteaga, Luis de San José and Matias Rebolledo, to produce the multicolored carpet of sawdust, an ancient tradition in honor of the patron saint this “magical town”.
Neither the rain that sometimes falls in Coatepec, prevents hundreds of volunteers, mostly young, are put to work since dawn of the previous day to make tapestries where will the religious procession of San Jeronimo, and the traditional descent of floral arches that accompanies it.
In this religious event participate from children to adults, who enjoy to make the offering of multicolored sawdust to the patron saint from the people as a gift of faith.