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Recording artist Lila Downs will be one of the performers at the Cumbre Tajín. Recording artist Lila Downs will be one of the performers at the Cumbre Tajín.

Cumbre Tajín 2020 aims to reawaken pride in Veracruz’s Tontonac roots

Musical headliners include Lila Downs, Ximena Sariñana and actress/singer Regina Orozco

Veracruz is set to celebrate its Totonac heritage with the 21st edition of the Cumbre Tajín (Tajín Summit), to take place in and near the El Tajín archaeological zone, a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the northern part of the state.

One of the largest regional indigenous celebrations in Mexico, the Cumbre Tajín will stage its main events on March 13-15. According to Xochitl Arbesú Lago, secretary of Tourism and Culture for the state of Veracruz, this year’s theme, Ven a Despertar, refers to an awakening of culture, consciousness and pride in Veracruz and the Totonac people.

Like most of Mexico’s regional fairs, the main draw is music with local, Mexican and international artists performing at over 50 concerts. Headliners include Lila Downs, Grammy nominee Ximena Sariñana and actress/singer Regina Orozco.

One of the invited bands is Tercera Raíz from Coatzacoalcos, a band that fuses reggae, ska and Caribbean music, which will perform March 14. The group’s name is an allusion to the third ethnic strand of Veracruz, and Mexico in general — its African heritage, which is all but forgotten.

2020 marks a significant reorganization of the event with the aim of making it more inclusive. In the past, the event was held over five consecutive days at the Takilhsukut Park and El Tajín. Starting this year, the main events last three days, with other events scheduled for the weeks before and after, and some events will be held in Papantla, designated a Magical Town by tourism authorities. Another significant change is that almost all events are free or with entrance fees of a few hundred pesos.

For the main weekend, there will also be guided tours of the archaeological site, demonstrations of local cuisine, Totonac traditional medicine/rituals, handicrafts, art and regional/indigenous dance and music. Light and sound shows focused on the Pyramid of the Niches remain a perennial attraction.

The first of the peripheral events is the Carrera de Pescado de Moctezuma on March 5-6. Commemorating the tradition of carrying a fish from the coast of Veracruz to the ancient city of Teotihuacán north of Mexico City, the long-distance relay running event has six or 12-person teams covering the same route.

On the 12th and 13th is the off-road motor race called the Ruta Extrema Jarochazo with over 300 participants. Rituals for the spring equinox will be held at the pyramid on March 19 and at the Vega de Alatorre Horse Race on March 21. State authorities expect to draw 250,000 visitors to the region during the period.

The reason for the changes is to encourage tourists and other visitors to explore the Totonac region, with its beaches, traditional communities and more. One event that is being promoted along with the Cumbre Tajín is the Fiestas del Petroleo of the nearby oil refining city of Poza Rica.

The Cumbre Tajín is an important event for the entire state of Veracruz. It is expected to bring in 6 million pesos (US $319,000), with an overall influx of 90 million pesos to the businesses of the state’s northern region. The event also generates 8,500 seasonal jobs, most of which benefit the local Totonac population.

The event is organized by El Tajín, A.C. with the support of the Secretariat of Education and Culture of the State of Veracruz, other state agencies, the Universidad Veracruzana and the municipality of Papantla. Tickets are available through Ticketbox.

Source: La Jornada (sp)

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