Friday, October 28, 2016
Strange Creatures Invade the City!
No, Mexico City has not been taken over by monsters from another planet. Every year prior to the Day of the Dead, the Museum of Popular Arts in Mexico City sponsors a parade and contest of "Alebrijes Monumentales".
Those who are familiar with Mexican handicrafts know that an "alebrije" is a brightly painted, wooden carving of a fantastical animal. They are produced in several villages near the city of Oaxaca, Mexico. However, what I did not know was that "alebrijes" had their beginning in Mexico City. An artisan by the name of Pedro Linares started making them from paper mache in the 1930s. According to the story, Linares was seriously ill, and in his feverish dreams he had visions of bizarre, colorful animals. They were called "alebrijes", a nonsense word. After he recovered, Linares began producing "alebrijes" in his workshop. From Mexico City, the idea spread to Oaxaca which had a long tradition of carving wooden animals.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of the "Alebrijes" Parade in Mexico City, and there were more than 200 entrants. The giant "alebrijes" were paraded through the streets of Mexico City last Saturday, and now they are on display along the Paseo de la Reforma, the city's most elegant boulevard.
Here are a few of the "alebrijes"...
And finally the most dreadful of all these creatures... "gringo horribilis ohiopithecus".