Lakeside Guide to Lake Chapala, Ajijic, Mexico

Festival Cultural Sangre Viva

At a Glance

Now in its sixth year, this annual weekend festival in the Ajijic plaza celebrates the music & culture of Mexico’s many indigenous groups.

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This three-day festival promotes Mexico’s indigenous roots which, as with most of the world’s native groups, are in danger of being yanked out by national and international corporate greed.

Now in its sixth year, the lineup for the festival includes music and dance performances, plus workshops and conferences, with art and handicrafts for sale throughout the weekend.

Activities are free and take place in Ajijic’s main plaza and inside the Centro Cultural Ajijic as well as the lake shore near the malecón, where you can take part in a traditional sweat lodge ceremony called a temazcal.

2019 Festival Cultural Sangre Viva Information

The sixth annual Festival Cultural Sangre Viva will be held March 29-31, 2019, with activities happening in the Ajijic plaza and on the lakeshore.

Here is the 2019 music and dance schedule:

Festival Cultural Sangre Viva 2019 music & dance schedule

And the 2019 workshops and conferences schedule:

Festival Cultural Sangre Schedule

Last updated March 28, 2019

Street View

Address

Main Plaza

Ajijic

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Photos of Festival Cultural Sangre Viva

Opening Ceremony

The Festival Cultural Sangre Viva opens on Friday, March 29 at 5 p.m. with a ceremony in the Ajijic plaza, which you're invited to participate in.

The start of the festival on Friday includes a ceremony in the Ajijic plaza.

The start of the festival on Friday includes a ceremony in the Ajijic plaza.

Xiul Ocelotl of the Aztec dance group Ce Ollin plays a drum during the ceremony.

Xiul Ocelotl of the Aztec dance group Ce Ollin plays a drum during the ceremony.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Masked Zayaco in Ajijic

Masked Sayaca During Carnaval

A man dressed as a sayaca looks for his next “victim” during the Carnival celebrations in Ajijic.

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Chichimecas Jonaz

The musical group Chichimecas Jonaz have been regular participants of past festivals, but won't be performing in 2019. They are members of the indigenous group, also called Chichimecas-Jonaz, who live in San Luis Potosí and Guanajuato. There are 84,000 members and only 2,600 left who speak the jonaz language.

The musical group Chichimecas Jonaz perform a song during the Festival Cultural Sangre Viva. Chichimecas Jonaz have been regular participants of the festival each year.

The musical group Chichimecas Jonaz perform a song during the Festival Cultural Sangre Viva. Chichimecas Jonaz have been regular participants of the festival each year.

Watch Chichimecas Jonaz perform one of their sonic soundscapes in this video:

Festival Cultural Sangre Viva
Accordion Player in Chapala

Traditional Mexican Music Genres

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Fiesta Cultural Sangre Viva

In the video below, watch Chichimecas Jonaz perform a dangerous dance using machetes on the Ajijic plaza:

Chichimecas Jonaz performs a song in front of the Ajijic Cultural Center.

Chichimecas Jonaz performs a song in front of the Ajijic Cultural Center.

Check out one more song by Chichimecas Jonaz:

Watch Mariachi Antiguo de Acatic perform a song during the 2018 Festival Cultural Sangre Viva:

Mariachi Antiguo de Acatic

Mariachi Antiguo de Acatic plays mariachi music as it would have sounded in the 1800s, playing with the original types of instruments in use at that time. They sometimes play at the Festival Cultural Sangre Viva.

Fiesta Cultural Sangre VivaMariachi Tradicional de Acatic is one of the music groups that usually perform during the three-day weekend. They plan an original, older version of mariachi as it sounded in the 19th-century before the inclusion of the vihuela.

Mariachi Tradicional de Acatic is one of the music groups that usually perform during the three-day weekend. They plan an original, older version of mariachi as it sounded in the 19th-century before the inclusion of the vihuela.

The instruments used to play mariachi music in the 19th century included tuned rocks, wood blocks and armadillo shells.

The instruments used to play mariachi music in the 19th century included tuned rocks, wood blocks and armadillo shells.

Ce Ollin

The Aztec dance group Ce Ollin will perform at the 2019 festival. Originally from San Cristóbal de las Casas in Chiapas, they travel southern and central Mexico to perform at festivals and on the street.

The Aztec dance group Ce Ollin performs during the Festival Cultural Sangre Viva in Ajijic, Mexico.

The Aztec dance group Ce Ollin performs during the Festival Cultural Sangre Viva in Ajijic, Mexico.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Revolution Day

Soldaderas on Revolution Day

Women played a significant role during the Mexican Revolution, which girls from the local schools commemorate every year on Revolution Day.

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Roberto Hernández of Ce Ollin.

Roberto Hernández of Ce Ollin.

Workshops, Conferences & Exhibits

The festival includes a number of workshops, demonstrations, conferences & exhbits. Check back here for the 2019 schedule or follow the festival's Facebook page.

One of the workshops last year was the elaboration of papel amate:

Jimador in Arandas, Jalisco

At Tequila Cazadores, They Use the Mozart Effect to Give Their Agave Juice Happy, Fermented Lives

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See this Photo Essay
Instruments for sale made by the festival's founder, Carlos Rubio. You can take a workshop for a few hundred pesos to learn how to make some of these instruments.

Instruments for sale made by the festival's founder, Carlos Rubio. You can take a workshop for a few hundred pesos to learn how to make some of these instruments.

A reproduction of Mayan codices which was on display in the Centro Cultural Ajijic during 2018's Festival Cultural Sangre Viva.

A reproduction of Mayan codices which was on display in the Centro Cultural Ajijic during 2018's Festival Cultural Sangre Viva.

Art & Artisans

Artists, artisans and other vendors sell their goods under tents in the plaza all weeekend long.

Necklaces, dreamcatchers, bracelets, bags, leather, drums and similar things are often for sale at the festival.

Necklaces, dreamcatchers, bracelets, bags, leather, drums and similar things are often for sale at the festival.

A Wixáritari (Huichol) man from Nayarit who came to the 2018 edition of the festival to sell his beaded jewelry.

A Wixáritari (Huichol) man from Nayarit who came to the 2018 edition of the festival to sell his beaded jewelry.

Beaded Huichol jewelry, bowls, dolls and other items.

Beaded Huichol jewelry, bowls, dolls and other items.

Temazcal Sweatlodge Ceremonies

Several temazcal sweatlodge ceremonies are scheduled throughout the weekend, which you can participate in for free along the Lake Chapala shore.

During the 2019 Festival Cultural Sangre Viva, the ceremonies will be held Friday at 10 p.m.; Saturday at 10 a.m., 4 p.m. and 10 p.m.; and Sunday at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. The cost is a small donation. Maybe $100 pesos per person would be suggested.

The temazcales are held here at "La Crucita" on the Lake Chapala shore:

Meet on the shore at the times indicated above to participate.

For a local temazcal that's available year-round, make a visit to Tepetates Temazcal.

People prepare for a temazcal ceremony on the Lake Chapala shore just east of the malecón.

People prepare for a temazcal ceremony on the Lake Chapala shore just east of the malecón.

A participant is doused in incense before entering the temazcal.

A participant is doused in incense before entering the temazcal.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Kids pose as marionettes on a moving float during the New Year's Day parade in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

The Puppetmaster Adjusts His Sombrero

Kids pretend to be living marionettes while riding on a moving float during the New Year’s Day parade in Ajijic, Jalisco, Mexico.

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