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Charreria – September celebrations! 30 favorite things about Mexico

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After Spain conquered and colonized Tenochtitlan (Mexico), the use of the horses was reserved exclusively for the Spanish.  They were afraid that if the Indians discovered one of their key secrets in the fight for the conquest, they would use it against them.

Around this time, Sebastian Aparicio, a holy man, bought the Hacienda de Careaga (Careaga Ranch) and dedicated it to agriculture and ranching, and introduced the Indians working on his ranch to the this last activity, even though it was still forbiden by the viceroyalty of the New Spain. And thus was born a new trade known as Charrería – the art of horsemanship – an activity that became highly popular.

Little by little the popularity and skill of Charreria grew, primarily due to the increases of use of the horses among the inhabitants of this country. The ranch owners or hacendados and their closer servants showed off their skills working with the horses and accomplishing complex maneuvers with expertise and courage. Later these maneuvers would become what now is known as Suertes Charras.

The professional Charreria was born in 1880 with the famous Charro Ponciano, known by his feats told in Mexican popular songs. Ponciano Díaz had the first cattle ranch in America and greatly boosted the fame of the Charreria, turning it into a courageous and skillful show worthy of admiration.

Charreria has been the subject of poems, songs, artisania, historians and anyone interested in the Mexican culture.  It has been declared as Mexico’s National Sport and every September 14th the Día del Charro (Charro Day) is celebrated.

Locally, this will be celebrated at the Church of Guadalupe in Puerto Vallarta, beginning at 10am, with a full procession to the church, and a special mass. It is a spectacular sight to behold, and the public is welcome (bring your cameras!)

The Charro is the most representative figure of Mexico all over the world, but women are also an active part of Charreria, they are called Escaramuzas, and while their suertes (excercises) are different that the ones performed by men, they also required courage and great sincronization, due to most of their participations are in group and not individual.

Mexican Charros were popularized by the great film figures and singers of the 1940’s as Pedro Infante and Jorge Negrete, reinforcing the image that we have today about the Charro Mexicano.

During September, LivePuntaMita.com will be sharing with you 30 things we love most about Mexico, in honor of this month’s Independence celebrations. Click here to view the complete list.