The white blouse has a broad curving collar embroidered with bold red flowers, and the full red skirt, with a pleated ruffle around the hem, is circled by another band of flowers. The traditional rebozo surrounds the shoulders, and the hair is worn up, secured to one side with red roses.
The indigenous people of Zacatecas - the Cazcanes, Guachichiles, and the Tepehoanes - have known much displacement. In 1521, Hernan Cortés occupied Zacatecas. In 1864, the French took over. And in 1922, at the invitation of President Alvaro Obregón, 20,000 Mennonites came to Mexico from Canada to settle on 247,000 acres of land in Chihuahua before traveling to Durango, Guanajuato, and Zacatecas.
This state is formed by arid expanses of land, bristling with lechuguilla on the surface and laced with rich strands of silver, gold, and copper underground. It is also one of Mexico's most mountainous states with many thermal and mineral springs. Low rainfall limits agriculture, but the state produces lumber and livestock.
Lechuguilla (which means "small lettuce") is actually a small agave that is cultivated throughout the desert areas of Zacatecas. Through a laborious manual process, this plant yields saponin, a substance used in the manufacture of soap, and its fibers are used to produce rope and cord.
In colonial days, the king of Spain received great treasures of silver from Zacatecas, which was the largest producer of the precious metal in the world. One of the major open silver mines was the Real de Los Angeles. Today, Zacatecas is still a silver-mining center. Trade schools train apprentices in the art of handmade silver craft and factories produce distinctive jewelry.
The capital, also named Zacatecas, is considered one of the most beautiful cities in the country. In 1993, Zacatecas was designated an UNSECO World Heritage Site in recognition of its 18th century colonial architecture, which features facades of rose colored stone with intricately carved doorways, casements, and columns.
The city of Zacatecas has spotless streets where many evenings, the town's quiet charm is shattered by a tambora, a free-for-all musical parade along streets and alleyways led by a small local band called a tamborazo. People either join the procession or cheer from balconies and doorways. In a December festival, the tamborazos serenade the Virgin of Zacatecas around the clock.
Did you know...?
Patria: tu superficie es el maíz
tus minas, el palacio del Rey de Oros
y tu cielo, las garzas en desliz
y el relámpago verde de los
(Native Land: your surface is the corn
your mines, the palace of the King of Ores
and your sky, the gliding herons
and the green lightening of the parrots.)
This fragment of the poem titled La Suave Patri (The Gentle Native Land) by Patria-born Ramon Lopez Velarde (1888-1988) represents the culmination of the author's constant search for themes related to central Mexico. He wrote the poem to commemorate the first centennial of the winning of independence in 1921. Velarde's work is considered the point of departure for contemporary Mexican poetry.