Every August, one of the two churches within two blocks of us, La Iglesia de San Sebastian hosts a 10-day celebration. La Señora de la Asunción (Our Lady of the Assumption), which runs this year, 2008, from August 5 – 15.
Cultural Continuity and Change in Gremio Fiestas in Yucatan.
by Christina Turner
Festivals are intrinsically paradoxical and multidimensional emphasizing contradictory functions as the specific cultural moment dictates. Festival traditions allow for historical continuity while incorporating societal change. They are a means of flexible adaptation that supports both social solidarity and the status quo. Festivals buttress hierarchical, closed caste/class systems while fostering status and prestige building within those systems through consensus and cooperation. The very act of role reversal delineates the dominant status role. Despite the various forms that festival traditions may take and the different historical paths that lead to them, they are similar in function and structure.
Thus, Glenda Joy Driskell (1981:15) writes in the introduction to her ethnomusicological exploration of the festival tradition in Yucatan that, “the fiesta has been variously extolled as a source of cultural continuity, a foundation of village integration, and a bulwark against exploitation by wealthy Yucatecans. It has also been condemned by economists as an impediment to economic progress and as a mechanism of colonial control.”
In a similar vein, Olga Najera Ramirez (1988: 146-147) discusses how the “festival represents a different world view because it encourages multiple dialogues, allows for alternatives to be expressed and therefore has revolutionary tendencies. …