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 indigenous music and culture.

More Info

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

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

Activities take place in Ajijic’s main plaza and inside the Centro Cultural Ajijic as well as the lake shore, 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. The schedule of events has not yet been released. Check back here as the festival approaches for further details on this year’s activities. (You can also follow their page on Facebook.)

The festival was supposed to take place on January 25-27, 2019 and is now rescheduled for March 29-31.

Last updated December 30, 2018

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 with an indigenous ceremony in the Ajijic plaza, which you're invited to participate in. In 2019, it will probably start at 6 p.m.

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

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

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Frida Kahlo Catrina

Frida Kahlo Catrina on the Day of the Dead

A woman dressed as a catrina of Frida Kahlo on the Day of the Dead in Chapala, Mexico.

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Purchase This Fine Art Print

Chichimecas Jonaz

The musical group Chichimecas Jonaz usually perform for one night of the festival. 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 usually performs at the festival each January.

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

San Cristóbal de las Casas, Chiapas

San Cristóbal de las Casas: Mexico’s Rebellious State in the South

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See this Photo Essay

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.

Check out one more song by Chichimecas Jonaz:

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 which usually perform at the Festival Cultural Sangre Viva.

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.

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

Ce Ollin

The Aztec dance group Ce Ollin usually performs several times throughout the weekend. 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.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

La Charra

La Charra

Escaramuza cowgirl Jaqui Gómez rides her horse along the shore of Lake Chapala, Mexico. “La charrería is a sport that gets everyone’s attention, but few understand it.”

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Purchase This Fine Art Print

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:

Día de los Angelitos

Day of the Little Angels: Remembering Children on the Day of the Dead

See this Photo Essay
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.

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.

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.

Temazcal Sweatlodge Ceremonies

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

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.

A participant is doused in incense before entering the temazcal.

Fine Art Photography of Lake Chapala

Cowboy Silhouette

Cowboy Silhouette

A cowboy demonstrates the precision of his lasso skills during an exhibition on the Day of the Cowboy in Ajijic, Mexico.

Purchase This Fine Art Print
Purchase This Fine Art Print

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