Metro – A drought has revealed a 400-year-old Dominican church that has remained intact despite spending decades underwater in a reservoir in Mexico. The church was submerged in the 1960s when the nearby Benito Juarez Dam was built. A severe drought in Mexico has caused the water level to drop so much the temple is now almost completely visible.
AP – The first baby in Mexico to be officially named with the maternal surnames of both parents has been registered in the northern state of Nuevo Leon. The tradition in Latin America is to give babies two last names — the father’s surname, followed by the mother’s paternal surname. So baby Bárbara, born to José González de Diego and Alicia Vera Zboralska would normally have been named Bárbara González Vera, losing both parents’ maternal surnames. But to honor the maternal line, the couple won a court injunction allowing them to name their child Bárbara de Diego Zboralska.
WSJ – As legal marijuana use spreads rapidly across the U.S., Mexican legislators are taking small steps to decriminalize pot in a country where the war on drugs has killed more than 100,000 people over the past decade.
WSJ – For a few years in the 1980s, American critics had their hatchets out for the Mexican novelist Carlos Fuentes. A leading figure of the Latin American literary boom, Fuentes (1928-2012) had steadily risen in prominence with cerebral, kaleidoscopic novels such as “The Death of Artemio Cruz” (1962) and “Terra Nostra” (1975). In 1985, he had a surprise best seller north of the border, “The Old Gringo,” about Ambrose Bierce’s final days among Pancho Villa’s revolutionary army. The novel’s success brought him to the attention of the American commentariat, and he began giving interviews and writing op-eds arguing against U.S. meddling in Latin America.
The Guardian – Same-sex couples have been able to marry in Mexico since 2009, when the country’s capital became the first city in Latin America to pass marriage equality laws. But in recent months, a well-organized and well-funded backlash has emerged, claiming credit for derailing a presidential proposal to entrench marriage equality in the country’s constitution.
Daily Beast -I n 1519, Hernán Cortés and his conquistadors arrived in Cholula, one of the largest cities in central Mexico. Roughly 50 miles southeast from modern day Mexico City, its tens of thousands of residents sat in the shadows of the 17,000 foot Popocatépetl volcano. It had a temple featuring more stairs, claimed one Spaniard, than the main pyramid in Tenochtitlan. The Spanish tore it down, and rebuilt Cholula in the same fashion they did across Mexico—replacing “demon-worshipping” sites with Catholic ones.
That also meant a hermit’s shrine on top of a large hill called Tlachihualtepetl had to go. But the hill itself was in fact, no hill. Its name translates to “man-made mountain” and inside it was the largest pyramid remaining in the Americas, and by some estimates the largest monument ever constructed by man. But its secrets as one of the most important religious sites in Mesoamerica would remain hidden for 400 years—and is still being uncovered today.
The Guardian – Archaeologists working in Mexico City have uncovered a circular temple built more than 650 years ago to worship a god of wind. It was excavated at a site discovered two years ago when a mid-20th-century supermarket was demolished. The circular platform, about 36ft in diameter and 4ft tall, now sits in the shadow of a shopping mall under construction.
By Mindy Weisberger / Live Science
On Thanksgiving Day, millions of Americans will sit down to enjoy a traditional turkey dinner. Although the U.S. holiday is only a few centuries old, archaeological evidence suggests that in Mexico’s central valleys of Oaxaca, turkey was on the menu much earlier — starting at least 1,500 years ago.
In fact, the amount of turkey remains found at a site inhabited by the Zapotec people suggests that turkey meals back then were “second only to dog” in popularity, the researchers wrote in a new study.
The archaeologists described excavating the remains of adult and juvenile turkeys; whole, unhatched eggs; and eggshell fragments from two residential structures dated between A.D. 300 and 1200.
The locations and context of the bones and eggshells suggested both domestic and ritual use of the animals, and “multiple lines of evidence” hinted that the breeding and raising of turkeys were commonplace in the region by A.D. 400 to 600, providing the earliest known evidence of turkey domestication, the study authors wrote.
Reuters – Hundreds of mariachi folk musicians filled the streets of Mexico City on Tuesday to celebrate and serenade the feast day of Cecilia, the patron saint of music. Clad in their traditional cropped jackets and wide sombreros, the mariachi guitarists, trumpeters and violinists played songs and marched in procession to the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Fox – Mexico’s congressional committee rejected a measure on Wednesday that would’ve legalized same-sex marriage throughout the country. The measure on enshrining same-sex couples’ right to wed in the constitution was defeated 19-8, with one abstention, in the Commission on Constitutional Matters.
By Patrick J. McDonnell / Los Angeles Times
Mexico’s beloved grande dame of death, a stylishly attired skeleton named La Catrina, her grinning skull topped with trademark hat, has company in the market stands here: Hollywood extraterrestrials, Batman and other superheroes, along with sundry witches and monsters.
In Mexico, customs originating in Europe and the indigenous world often meld in a surprisingly seamless fashion.
So it is with Halloween, a tradition born in Europe and transported from the United States, and Day of the Dead, a Mexican remembrance of the deceased with pre-Hispanic origins.
The two holidays — Halloween on Oct. 31 and Day of the Dead two days later — have fused here into a multi-day, sometimes surreal celebration and a bonanza for pinata and mask makers, costume fabricators and bakers specializing in sugary offerings for the departed. At the sprawling Sonora Market here, the final shopping days are frantic.
On Saturday, Mexico City held its first Day of the Dead parade, a runaway success that saw the route through downtown jammed with more 250,000 people, many in full Halloween mode, decked out in skeleton regalia, their faces painted like skulls.
Across all social strata, many Mexicans dress up for Halloween, also known as Noche de Brujas, or Night of the Witches, then prepare altars known as ofrendas for deceased ancestors and loved ones.
“My mother liked to put up very big ofrendas with a lot of decoration,” says Alejandro Diaz Fernandez, 46, a school bus driver who has arrived at Sonora Market’s “auditorium,” a room the size of an airplane hangar, to load up on chocolate skulls, incense and marigolds. The orange flowers, known as cempasuchil, are ubiquitous in the run-up to Day of the Dead.
Buzz Feed – Marriage equality has spread through many Mexico states with little controversy, but conservatives are taking to the streets now that the president has joined the cause.
AP – Juan Gabriel was more than just a singer and songwriter for the hundreds of fans who thronged Mexico City’s Plaza Garibaldi to wish him farewell Monday. He was a legend, an artist who marked an era in people’s lives. Every major Mexican newspaper had news of his Sunday death on its front page, along with large photos of his flamboyant costumes.
LAT – With his glittery capes, slinky dance moves and ultra-romantic lyrics, Mexican superstar Juan Gabriel was an unlikely king in a country known for its machismo. He never spoke about his sexuality, yet was widely assumed to be gay.
Guardian – Juan Gabriel, the legendary Mexican singer-songwriter , has died suddenly at his home in California. He was 66. Gabriel was Mexico’s leading singer-songwriter and top-selling artist, with sales of more than 100m albums. His ballads about love and heartbreak and bouncy mariachi tunes became hymns throughout Latin America and Spain, as well as with Spanish speakers in the United States.
Daily Mail – A small building in Mexico tells the violent history of treachery and conquest at the great Aztec city of Cholulu – but for hundreds of years, a secret lay beneath its floors. Hiding under the grass, trees and soil sits the Great Pyramid of Cholula, deemed the largest monument ever built on Earth, with a base four times the size of the Great Pyramid of Giza.
NYT – In a country that is struggling with pressing social, economic and political challenges yet possesses a rich cultural heritage, many emerging artists and trendsetters no longer feel compelled to look abroad for inspiration.
RT – A spectacular, ancient document housed in the Bodleian Libraries at Oxford University since the 17th Century has finally been revealed – and the story it tells gives a dazzling insight into Mexican civilizations prior to the arrival of the conquistadores.
La Jornada – The National Sound Archive announced the creation of the Institute for the Preservation and Promotion of Bolero in Mexico, which will seek to have this genre registered by UNESCO among its list of world assets.
PRI – In the canyons of northern Mexico’s Sierra Madre Occidental reside some of the fastest runners in the world: the indigenous Tarahumara population, who call themselves the Raramuri.
This indigenous group excels in running competitions worldwide. But to the authorities, they’re becoming known for something else: Narco-traffickers have been exploiting them to smuggle drugs to the US. Between 2010 and 2015, the number of Raramuri arrested at the US-Mexico border doubled from 50 to 100 detainees.