Updated: Apr 18, 2019
Noche Cultural is a celebration of the history, traditions, and folklore of Mexico. It is a gathering meant to celebrate both family and community. Showcasing Charrería (horsemanship & roping), folkloric dancing, and traditional music, this is a chance to experience Mexican culture at its finest. We invite you to join us in this celebration of the Mexican spirit.
Noche Cultural is intended to foster a community spirit for people of all ages. Cultural events are vital in building thriving communities both physically and emotionally. This is especially true for youth who otherwise have no opportunity to experience and witness cultural events relevant to their heritage. Noche Cultural includes family activities, Charrería exhibition, informational tabling, food booths, a beer garden, and cultural musical entertainment.
Charrería is known as Mexico’s national sport. It involves sportsmanship including skillful roping, rope tricks, talented horsemanship, and cattle work. Charrería has been inscribed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization, UNESCO. The tradition of Charrería dates back to the 1500s when the Spaniards brought horses and cattle to the Americas. Charrería has endured. The large hacienda fields in Mexico provided a perfect landscape for agriculture and cattle raising that shaped the culture of the Charro. The sport has served as a foundation for Mexican identity and pride in dire times, especially after the Mexican Revolution. In the early 1930s, the president of Mexico officially recognized Charrería as the country’s national sport. To this day, the sport remains vibrant in towns and cities across Mexico and in many parts of the United States bringing people of all backgrounds together to witness the artful sport. Charrería encompasses tradition, culture, family and friendship and rightly so. The iconic Charro is representative of “La Mexicanidad”, the mexicanness. Governed by the Federación Mexicana de Charrería (Mexican Charrería Federation), headquartered in Mexico City, the sport includes a variety of events such as parade, reining, bull riding, team roping, bronc riding and a variety of rope trick exhibitions. Escaramuza, in which women execute daring feats and precision maneuvers while riding sidesaddle is a reference to the skilled and strategic horsemanship they displayed on the battlefield during the Mexican revolution. The Charro outfit, adapted from Spain to the Mexican landscape, includes lightweight short boots called botines, spurs, elaborate hand-sewn pants and shirts, belts, belt buckles, chaps, bowties, and the traditional Mexican sombrero. Many artisans in Mexico make a living providing for certain aspects of the sport such as saddlery, silversmith work for spurs, belt buckles or saddle hardware, making sombreros, boots, outfits, riatas and ropes.
Charrería evolved as hacienda owners were faced with the proliferation of cattle and horses in Mexico. Hacendados, or landowners, were forced to use the help of the indigenous peoples who in turn developed incredible talent working with the horses to an extent that it became their passion and their livelihood. However, allowing the indigenous peoples to ride horses was a process for the Spanish Kingdom required special authorization in order to allow the indigenous people to ride horses. Only direct Spanish descendants were allowed such privilege. By the mid to late-1500s, it became evident that allowing more indigenous peoples to ride horses, more gold could be brought to the ports to be shipped to Spain. As a result, horsemanship and cattle work were made less restricted for the indigenous peoples and thereafter, riding and cattle work became both their livelihood and their passion.
Roping was first done as means to move horses and cattle from one place to another and to treat animals suffering from disease and accidents. Starting with rudimentary ropes adapted to the landscape of Mexico, the ropes became more and more usable to the point that roping became its own discipline and ropers developed sophisticated talent with it. To this day, roping remains a vibrant sport, and a lifestyle for ranchers of many countries.
Similarly as with horsemanship and roping, cattle work and developing talent for it became part of peoples’ livelihoods. Becoming good in the craft meant the possibility of becoming a trusted employee to the Hacendado and as a result, the possibility of other privileges. In those early days most of the cattle work involved roping sick horses and cattle for treatment, domesticating, transportation and to work the land. Sebastian De Aparicio remains as the first known Mexican Charro. He settled in Veracruz and was the first to allow the indigenous peoples to ride horses and to use cattle to transport gold from the mountains to the coast to be shipped back to Spain. He has been beatified by the Catholic Church.
Throughout history, cultures have strived to preserve and pass on traditions to younger generations as means to maintain their language, identities, and traditions. Folkloric ensembles have been and remain unique vehicles for artistic expression and they range from simple one to two member groups to elaborate multi age, and multi member troupes. With dances, inevitably comes music. Music is beautiful, enriching, happy, complex, simple, sad, melodic, therapeutic, calming, relaxing, and all human beings are influenced by it. From one country to another, music differs in instruments, language, and rhythms. However, most music is connected to a culture, to a language, to an era, to a community and it highlights a distinct human element particular to its region.