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Festival del Cerro Rojo, Tlatlauquitepec’s biggest festival


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Traditional festivals keep a community together, brighten up the streets and help preserve the cultural heritage. In Tlatlauquitepec, there is one in particular that brings together thousands of locals and visitors every year. It is the Festival del Cerro Rojo, which translates to Festival of the Red Hill , the town’s biggest festival.

Origin of the
Red Hill Festival

In 2013, the government of Tlatlauquitepec organized for the first time the Festival del Cerro Rojo, with the intention of showing and preserving the identity, customs, traditions and history of the Pueblo Magico.

After a pause of a few years, the festival has been celebrated every spring and has been a resounding success, to the point of becoming the main celebration of the community.

The name of the festival has to do with the name of Tlatlauquitepec itself. Coming from the Nahuatl language, it is composed of the words “tlatlahui” which means to color and “tepetl” which means hill. Some interpretations state that “tlatla” means to burn, so the correct meaning is “place of the hill that burns”. The hill in this name refers to the Cerro Cabezón, icon and reference of Tlatlauquitepec.

What to see, do and taste
during the Festival del Cerro Rojo

The variety of events, activities and alternatives available during the Festival del Cerro Rojo is very wide. From rides and parades to contests and concerts, there is something for everyone.

Although they vary from year to year, these are some of the attractions that are usually presented at the festival.

Parade of allegorical carriages

It has become a tradition to start the festival with a spectacular parade of floats, decorated with motifs and symbols of the geography, history and culture of Tlatlauquitepec.

Concerts at the Teatro del Pueblo

In the evenings, people congregate at the Teatro del Pueblo, which translates to the town’s theater, to enjoy live music concerts by artists of national stature.

Eugenia León, La Sonora Santanera, Bronco, El Komander and Sentimiento Huasteco are some of the artists who have performed at these musical evenings.

Contests and competitions

To add fun and entertainment to the program, every year some contests are organized. The one that cannot be missed is the shrimp cake contest, in which participants seek to prepare the most delicious version of this typical local dish. There are also competitions of tlayoyos and homemade ice cream.

In addition, the Miss Chiquitina contest is held, an event that promotes local, regional and state tourism.

Gastronomic corridor

Undoubtedly, one of the most successful attractions year after year is the gastronomic corridor, where attendees gather to taste local delicacies such as the famous tlayoyos, tortillas stuffed with alberjon paste, chicken enchilado al chiltepín, mole de guajolote, shrimp cake or xocoyoles, among many others.

Dances and rituals

Regional dances and traditional rituals are an important part of the Red Hill Festival.

Some of those that have been presented in editions of the event are the Danza de Los Negritos, Danza de los Santiaguitos, Danza del Xochipitzahuatl, the Danzas de los Quetzales and the ritual of the Danza de los Voladores, which is usually celebrated at the top of Cerro Cabezón.

Physical activities and sports

There is a whole section of physical activities that complete the program of the Festival del Cerro Rojo. Some require more physical condition than others, but all result in entertaining moments for the public.

The coal race consists of carrying sacks of coal through the narrow streets of downtown Tlatlauquitepec, as fast as possible to beat the contenders.

A similar dynamic is that of the corn race, where only the content of the sacks and the location change, since it takes place in the esplanade of the town’s main square.

There is also a boat race with oars to cross the Soledad Dam at full speed.

Those who enjoy biking can participate in a ride to Cerro Cabezón, where, in addition to exercise, they have the benefit of a spectacular view.

Taekwondo, skirmishes and roosters tournaments are also held, but without a doubt the most notorious is the beach volleyball tournament. Although Tlatlauquitepec is located many kilometers away from the coast, a sand court is conditioned to house the different teams that compete to reach the final and win the trophy. In recent editions, teams from other countries such as Poland and Germany have been present.

The Festival del Cerro Rojo opens its doors to travelers and curious visitors, both from the region and those who come from farther away and want to learn and enjoy the authentic and unique culture of Tlatlauquitepec.

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