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Feliz Navidad! Christmas Dishes from Mexico!

Christmas is just a few days away! You still may have time to book a Mariachi band for Christmas parties, possibly even Christmas Eve mass! To get you in the Christmas spirit and maybe give you some party ideas (because what’s a good party without great music and amazing food?).

Mexico is a country filled with great traditions and even better food! Christmas food is no exception to this rule! Here’s a list of food traditionally served at or around Christmas.

    • Pavo: Like many other cultures, Mexico has a version of turkey for Christmas; stuffed, roasted and served with gravy. Pavo may also be served with mole sauce.
    • Esalada de Noche Buena: a salad containing oranges, grapefruit, jicama, radishes, lime rind and juice, yogurt, mayonnaise, honey, pomegranate seeds, pumpkin seeds, cilantro, and other seasonings.
    • Bacalao: Dried and salted cod. This dish is popular in Central and Southern Mexico. It becomes quickly available during the Christmas season in grocery stores. Some recipes call for this dried cod to be stewed with tomatoes, capers, olives, and potatoes.
    • Romeritos: These are small green leaves mixed with mole sauce and potatos, often served with shrimp bread. The leafy vegetable used resembles rosemary.
    • Tamales: A major staple and common food in Mexican restaurants, tamales are sometimes served instead of turkey of bacalao. These cornmeal dumplings with various types of filling are very time consuming to make—often making them reserved for special events like Christmas in large enough batches to feed an army.
    • Menudo: This tripe and hominy soup is often eaten on Christmas morning, prepared the night before. Pazole(hominy, pork or chicken, chile, garlic, and a garnish of lettuce, radishes, avocado, oregano, and lime wedges) may also be served.

  • Ponche: This is a sweet hot beverage prepared using guava, apples, other fruit, sugar cane, prunes, and tejocotes. It is sometimes served with tequila or rum for older recipients of the beverage.
  • Buñuelos: This treat is similar to a sweet tostada. It is topped with sugar or dipped in syrup. Traditions suggest making a wish after consuming the treat and throwing the clay plate it was served on to the ground.
  • Rosca de Reyes: This sweet bread is served on January 6th, but it is often found around Christmas in bakeries around Mexico

 

Whatever you do this Christmas season (with what few days are left) be careful and treasure the time you have with those you love. Surround yourself with happiness and joy and remember the meanings behind Christmas.

If you’re having a big party or a small get together, feel free to call and reserve a Mariachi band. The sooner you call, the more likely the dates won’t be booked. Traditional Mexican food plus traditional Mexican music will bring you back to memories of childhood, or teach you a little about the heritage of you, your loved ones, or anyone from Mexico or South America. Regardless of your background, race, color, or religion, Mariachi Alegre de Tucson will be happy to perform at your holiday parties!

 
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Top Reasons Mariachi Bands Are Great At Christmas

Mariachi bands are great, but most people only think of them for weddings, birthday parties, Quinceañeras, and other similar celebrations. No one thinks of hiring a Mariachi band for a Christmas party—and that’s insane! Christmas is a perfect time to have such fun and amazing music for a great party.

  • Christian/Catholic influences on the Mexican culture: Many holidays celebrated in Mexico and the surrounding areas have mixed Catholicism and Aztec (or other native Mexican peoples) traditions into a beautiful season of mass celebration. Spread the knowledge of love of such beautiful traditions with the wonderful music of Mexico.
  • Keep everyone awake and moving after over-eating: After everyone has had their full of the wonderful food that has been prepared (or catered, we don’t judge), it can be great to get up and dance about a bit. No one will resist dancing to the upbeat Mariachi music our performers will bring to your party. Even those aunts, uncles, or cousins who “don’t dance,” will be on the dance floor shakin’ their groove thing!
  • Great for large parties: The bigger the party, the better. Large office parties, large family seasonal gatherings, or just a neighborhood block party to celebrate Christmas will benefit from these wonderful performers. Have everyone chip in a bit to hire a live band instead of pumping recorded music/
  • No need to rent speakers: If you’re having a large party, you’ll probably either be at a large indoor venue, in a yard or a park, or some other sort of outdoor venue. Speakers can be expensive, and DJ’s are overrated. Live mariachi music doesn’t need much amplification.
  • No boring DJ: Some DJ’s are pretentious and won’t listen to requests, and others only work on requests and boring set lists. Our Mariachi performers will read the crowd and know what songs people will love to hear to get their booties on the dance floors, or what music to play to let everyone rest and calm down for a few minutes.
  • Anyone and everyone can enjoy Mariachi: No matter where you’re from, where your family is from, or what music you normally listen to, Mariachi music is intoxicating. There’s no rule stating you must be of Mexican decent to love this music. Embrace the culture of others by listening to the music and talking to the performers.
  • Enjoy performers who will socialize: Instead of being like boring pieces of furniture, our performers will involve themselves in the party (in a professional manner) and they will include guests into the performance in some way, shape, or form (encouraging dancing, taking requests, etc).

For your holiday parties large or small, consider the Mariachi performers with Mariachi Alegre De Tucson. We are the best of the best and can’t wait to celebrate the holidays with you. Book now before someone else takes your party day!mariachi alegre de tucson az mariachi band

 
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More Mexican Christmas Traditions

We’ve talked about the overall happenings at Christmas in Mexico, but today we’ll talk about a few of the traditions and how you can incorporate that into your holiday celebrations to make the end of this year one to remember.

  • Posada: Between December 16th and 24th, children often perform the 9 “Posada” processions. Posada comes from the Spanish word meaning “Inn” or “Lodging.” This tradition stems from the Catholic/Christian influences from the Christmas story where Joseph and Mary search for a place to stay for the birth of Jesus. During this time, homes are decorated with evergreens, moss, and paper lanterns. Children are given candles and a board holding painted clay figured of Joseph and Mary on a donkey (on the final night, a manger scene is placed on the board) and they go from home to home singing songs about Mary and Joseph’s journey. Upon entering homes, the children say prayers and thanks before the partying with food, games, and fireworks begin. Each night features a different home holding the party and receiving children. At the final posada, a baby Jesus is placed in the manger to represent the birth of Christ and all families involved attend a midnight Mass.
  • Piñata for the Posada: At the Posada, a piñata may be present. It is usually a ball with seven spikes or peaks around it (representing the 7 sins) but animals or other shapes may be present as well.
  • Pastorelas: This comes from the word meaning “shepherds.” Pastorelas are a type of play telling the story of the shepherds trying to find the baby Jesus—in a humorous tone. They often include tales of temptation attempted by the devil, but the shepherds find their way in the end to be where they meant to.

This year, get your neighbors involved (especially the children) and teach them the story of Christmas using the tradition of the Posadas. At the parties on each of the 9 nights, you can incorporate new and interesting food, or stick to more traditional menus. You can also bring in a Mariachi band for a fun and upbeat entertainment venue. Our performers would love to see little angelic children singing the songs of Mary and Joseph’s travels and then play traditional Mexican Christmas songs (and even some more westernized songs if you want) to keep everyone having fun the whole night.

Act now and get great prices and a guaranteed Mariachi band for your party! If you want, hire us for all nine nights! Get the neighborhood together and it’ll be more than affordable- it’d be foolish not to hire a Mariachi band for your Christmas related festivities this year. While you’re at it, ask about Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day openings.

 
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Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe: December 12

Thanksgiving is over and most of the world is now obsessed, yet again, with Christmas. Today we’re going to talk about the Mexican holiday Dia de la Virgen de Guadalupe. Let’s take a moment away from Christmas shopping and Christmas party planning and learn a little about the beautiful culture from which the amazing Mariachi music stems from before you contact us to play at your holiday gatherings.

In Mexico on December 12th, citizens go to the chief religious center at the Basilica of the Virgen of Guadalupe north of Mexico City. They celebrate Our Lady Guadalupe with mass and a fair in her honor. The location is said to be where the Virgin Guadalupe appeared to the people of Mexico, and the celebration in her name features traditional music, attractions, bullfights, rodeos, and overall celebration. Travelers bring gifts (often flowers) and some will perform a special song and dance or walk on their knees on the stone before the Basilica to ask for miracles or give thanks. The fiesta is impressive. Vendors sell food, crafts, and clothing and there are vast numbers of musical and dance performances. You can also find altars for the Virgin or the traditional food like bunuelos, raspados, and tortas.

When Mexico was conquered by the Spanish, the conquerors had every intention of converting the natives to Catholocism, but the preexisting strong beliefs of the Mexican people made that difficult. The turning point for the native Mexican people was the day the Virgin of Guadalupe and Juan Diego arrived. Juan Diego, a native, was walking towards the Hill of Tepeyac on December 12, 1531 and he stopped when he saw the Virgin Mary. She appeared as a young native woman (not like the Virgin Mary in most Catholic interpretations in Europe and America) and told him to go to the Bishop to ask him to build a church at that location, and he obliged. Despite his argument, the Bishop ignored the request.

After the denial of the church, the Virgin Mary appeared once more and told Juan Diego to collect some flowers from the hill. Juan thought this was foolish since there usually are no flowers on the hill in December: but he was wrong. The hill was covered in flowers so he did what was asked of him and gave a coat made from said flowers to the Bishop, thus proving the miracles the Virgin Mary is capable of, and that combined with the presence of the Virgin convinced the Bishop to build the church; The Basilica of the virgin of Guadalupe. This was the major turning point that convinced native people to convert to Catholicism, as the Spanish had been desperately trying to achieve.

If you can’t make it to Mexico for this holy holiday, celebrate on your own here in Tucson. You can hire our Mariachi services for dancing and music for your own local fiesta to honor the Virgin Guadalupe and bring in the Holiday season in a beautiful way. Act fast, December 12th is coming quickly.

 
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Mariachi And Thanksgiving? Why not?

Thanksgiving is just a few short days away. Are you throwing a party this weekend? If not, you should rethink that decision and celebrate the four-day-weekend with the best party of the year. Thanksgiving is a day for Americans to get together and remember the stories of the “first” Thanksgiving, mostly ignoring much of the actual history. Smart Americans take this as a day to be thankful for everything we have (shelter, food, family, friends, employment, etc) and share the appreciation with those around you.

You may be wondering why we’d talk about AMERICAN Thanksgiving since we’re a Mariachi band. The answer is simple: Because we can. Well, it’s less simple than that. The real reason is because our Mexican heritage and tradition is part of who we are, but we’re all still Americans. Besides, the world needs more excuses to thank those around us and be grateful for what we have that people in other countries might not.

So, consider our services for your parties this weekend. Have a left-over buffet for your neighbors and hire a Mariachi band to get everyone excited—dance off some of those extra calories from the endless days of turkey leftovers. Combine the beautiful Mexican traditions with the great American food and holidays. Let’s start uniting cultures one at a time.

If you’re not looking for entertainment this Thanksgiving weekend, do keep us in mind for the upcoming Christmas parties. If you don’t celebrate Christmas, call us for a Hanukah, Kwanza, or Solstice event. We all need more excuses to party, so this holiday season why not make up a holiday or just celebrate the togetherness the Fall and Winter evokes. Start planning your Christmas parties now and reserve our wonderful services for the most fun holiday parties on your block.

If you’re wanting to throw an office or family Christmas party, act soon. If you start with your Christmas parties in early December you should have high attendance numbers due to the lower number of competing parties. Or you can set the date now and let the word out you have the best Mariachi group around performing so everyone will prioritize your party.

For some ideas as to what food to serve for your upcoming Mexico-Inspired holiday parties, check out recipes here and elsewhere on the internet. Keep it fun, keep it festive, and keep everyone entertained with Mariachi Alegre de Tucson. Any party can be improved with the right band: and we are always that right band. Ask us about our festive music selections or suggest songs from your childhood or that you’ve come across. We’ll always do our best to keep you coming back.

At Mariachi Alegre de Tucson, we all wish you a happy Thanksgiving, from the bottom of our hearts. Stay safe.

 
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Christmas in Mexico

If you are among the Christmas enthusiasts who are already decorating the Christmas trees, buying Christmas presents, and singing Christmas carols, then you should consider the Mexican Christmas Season as your new best friend. Mexico is known for family values and partying for anything and everything. Christmas is no exception. The Christmas season in Mexico lasts nearly a month, spanning from December 12 until January 6. The season combines indigenous practices, Spanish customs, and newer Mexican inventions from the Colonial era and the Germanic and United States influences. Much like in America, marketing towards the Christmas season begins in November.

In December, people begin decorating! Poinsettias are used for the festive look. These flowers are not seen much outside of South America and the Southwestern US. To natives, they symbolized new life fallen warriors received and said warriors return to the earth as hummingbirds or butterflies to drink the nectar of the flower. It is also found in more modern Mexican legends that the plant was originally a weed that changed into a beautiful flower in order for a child to give the now beautiful plant to the baby Jesus. The bright green leaves and the vibrant red flower makes this flower jump out and further cements the “red-and-green” theme found all over the world for Christmas colors.

The “traditional” Christmas tree worldwide stems from mainly Germanic and American customs. They were imported to Mexico for the expatriate community but have gathered popularity with the rest of Mexico (and the world) over time. The presence of large chain stores allows for more families to obtain these symbols of Christmas. Despite Christmas trees not being native to Mexico or present for much longer than a century, the citizens embrace this tradition along with many, many others found around the world.

The heavy Christian and Catholic influence upon Mexico lead to the use of the well-known Nativity scene found in many Mexican homes and larger decoration displays. The religious influences also explain the last posada on Christmas Eve followed by the Mass of the Rooster late at night. This is followed by a midnight feast with various traditional Mexican dishes including bacalao, revoltijo de romerita, and more. Christmas day is used for families to recuperate, relax, and eat leftovers.

If you want your Christmas holiday to be as traditional as possible, hire a Mariachi band for the mass and/or the Midnight feast. Keep everyone awake and alert with so much dancing everyone might sleep through Christmas. Build up that appetite to eat the leftovers before the sun sets on Christmas night. If you aren’t looking for a fully traditional Christmas, bring in the feeling of Mexico and home by hiring our performers for your family party before or after Christmas. It’s never too early (or too late) to start celebrating this wonderful holiday. You have until January 6th to be in the Christmas spirit of Mexico! Bring in the poinsettias, get to cooking for the midnight feast, and find your best outfit for Midnight Mass ready! Christmas is right around the corner. Book us now or you’ll regret it.

 
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Mariachi Christmas Services

Now that Halloween is officially over, stores are bringing out the Christmas decorations so it’s time to start thinking about your family or office Christmas party! If you don’t celebrate Christmas, we’ll still perform at your holiday-based festivities. If you just want a fun way to spice up a party this winter, we’ll do that, too!

No one likes thinking of Christmas this early, but planning a party is so much more fun than buying Christmas presents at big box stores or the mall. Forget the office “Secret Santa” tradition and get everyone to pitch in for the best party any of you have ever seen. If someone tells you they don’t like Mariachi music, tell them to keep their un-fun rears at home while the rest of your coworkers enjoy the night. Or, tell them to come anyway and they’ll leave a mariachi fan.

The entire Christmas season is a great time to spend with family and friends. It’s the season of giving and being thankful for what we have. Most of us get a couple days off for Christmas or New Years to stuff our faces with turkey, ham, and eggnog, so bring a little extra excitement to the fiesta and hire Mariachi Alegre de Tucson.

Office parties can be drab and boring when it’s just everyone in the office or a restaurant drinking punch and talking in suits. Do something different this year and hire a mariachi band! Not only will everyone be itching to dance the whole time, but our performers will always be friendly and social, keeping everyone involved in the festivities. Whether you’re holding the party in the office, conference room, restaurant, pagoda, park, or any type of entertainment venue, our performers will liven up any party.

Among our other traditional mariachi songs, we also have seasonal set lists. We can also play many American standards with a mariachi twist. Everyone can sing along to our renditions of Jingle Bells and most people who can only speak English will still be able to sing along to Feliz Navidad (it’s ok if you can’t, it’s sometimes much more amusing when you don’t know the words).

This winter, get a taste of holidays in Mexico and hire an authentic mariachi band for a party the office will be talking about for years. Book now to ensure you get the date of your choosing. You’ll be so impressed with our performers you’ll beg for them to come back next year—and we will.

Our trained musicians will always perform with high levels of energy and professionalism and the authenticity will bring you back home for a few hours or it will make you wish you were in the southern hemisphere on the beaches of South America.

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Mariachi Band and Weddings

Men, women, and children! Gather around and let’s talk about weddings! Weddings are beautiful, memorable, and very important (especially for the bride). So, why not make it a night no one will forget and hire a Mariachi band; Mariachi Alegre de Tucson to be precise. We’ll put on our best suits (especially if one matches your wedding colors) and hop on down to your reception to keep everyone on the dance floor all night long. Don’t forget, we also offer Mass services to make the whole event authentic.

So many couples rely on flashy dance stages with lasers and disco balls with pre-recorded music or some college kid claiming to be a professional DJ, but it’s time we bring back live entertainment for everyone to enjoy! Mexican guests will love the upbeat, live, dancing music while anyone unfamiliar with the culture will be intrigued and want to know more about Mariachi and their history. Anyone can (and will) enjoy our performers due to their likability, professionalism, and charisma.

All of our performers are professional and skilled with their instruments. We don’t just let anyone in on this awesome tradition. They will interact with guests but not to the point of lollygagging about or ignoring their work. They become part of the party, not just some musicians in the corner.

Those unfamiliar with the Mariachi style of music may think of the most popular songs which tend to be loud and boisterous and, to some, a little grating. This is not representative of all mariachi music. A good portion of it can be romantic, subdued, subtle, and beautiful. While we will play songs that encourage energetic dancing, there are plenty of “slow dance” songs for the first dance, general couples dances, and even the Mother-Son/Father-Daughter dances. No one needs to understand Spanish fluently (or even at all) to feel the emotions in many of these songs, making it perfect for any wedding regardless of religion, location, or heritage.

Talk to your local dance studios and ask about learning classic Mariachi dances and wow all of your guests with a fantastic first dance or a group dance featuring the bridesmaids and groomsmen. Nothing will amaze the guests and keep them talking like live music and a dance performance by their loved ones—especially if they never knew you could dance. But don’t worry, even those who have no training or two left feet can also enjoy the beautiful music styling’s of Mariachi Alegre de Tucson.

Check out this list of songs (and videos) which are popular and appropriate at weddings and if you find any you like, let us know and we’ll do our best to include it in our repertoire for your soiree.

 
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Salsa Fest Mariachi Performance!

salsafest2 Sorry if you missed our wonderful performance at the 2014 SalsaFest Competition in September 17, 2014! At such a fun and interesting annual festival who better to perform than an authentic Mexican Mariachi group? Mariachi Alegre de Tucson kept the crowds dancing and made smiles grow while guests tried out some wonderful salsa recipes. You may have missed out on this year’s SalsaFest, but there’s always next year and you can still check out everything The Salsa Trail has to offer!

Participants in the Salsa contests made all salsas on site and festival attendees could purchase bags of chips to try the myriad of salsas out to vote for the People’s Choice competition. Cash prizes were awarded to the best salsas at the event. There were also contests for eating salsa and jalapeños as well as Chihuahua races and costume contests. Other events includes a car show, dance performances, hot air balloons, a “Kids Korner,” and a salsa walk for the Boys & Girls Club of the Gila Valley.

What the Salsa Trail site fails to mention is our wonderful local mariachi group performing! We performed on Saturday the 27th in front of up to three-thousand people festival attendees! Downtown Safford was graced with the authentic, beautiful, and joyful music of Mariachi Alegre de Tucson where families could gather to celebrate their own Mexican heritage or appreciate the background of those around them! Everyone was welcome, regardless of background, to enjoy the festival with great performances all around!

Blue skies and smiling faces fueled our performers to provide the best performance of the entire festival. Our performers couldn’t stop smiling, and neither could the festival guests!salafest1

You can find more information about the SalsaFest in Safford (Grahm County) through the Arizona’s Salsa Trail local restaurants! Check out their restaurants in Safford, York, Thatcher, Pima, and Morenci. The Salsa Trail supplies these family owned restaurants with supplies and keeps them all connected to each other to strive for high levels of authenticity and enjoyable restaurants. Check out their facebook to see images from this year’s SalsaFest and maybe next year you and your friends or family can end up on the wall of photos! If nothing else, check it out for all of the fantastic salsa and maybe our Mariachi group will be playing again.

If you know of a festival which you feel would benefit greatly from the wonderful music talents of the Mariachi Alegre de Tucson groups, let us know. Also, if you plan on starting a festival, carnival, or other big special event, hiring us just might bring the whole party together! Birthdays, weddings, funerals, Christmas parties, work parties, and more! What better way to celebrate the togetherness of Christmas or the celebration of two families joining in a wedding than to book us today for all of your holidays needs!

 
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Gear Up for National Hispanic Heritage Month!

It’s that time of year again! National Hispanic Heritage Month! September 15th through October 15th is a time to celebrate all of our Hispanic heroes! So, for the next few weeks we’ll talk about some of the amazing Hispanic historical figures and great things to happen in Hispanic communities.

1968 began the observation of Hispanic Heritage Week when Lyndon B. Johnson was president of the USA and Ronald Reagan expanded the week into an entire month in 1988. Unlike Black History Month, Hispanic Heritage Month begins in the middle of a month and lasts for 30 days (as opposed to one calendar month). September 15th marks the anniversary of the independence of many Latin American countries while the independence days of Mexico (Sept 16) and Chile (Sept 18) are celebrated just after. Interestingly, Columbus day (Día de la Raza) calls on Oct 12, just before the end of this celebrated month.

On Hispanic Heritage Month’s .gov website, you can find information about art, history, culture, and more about Hispanic history.

To kick off Hispanic Heritage Month, Mattel has released a Mariachi Barbie, to make amends for the mildly racist “Mexico” Barbie which angered Latinos at the release of the Dolls of the World Barbie collection. This time, Mattel embraced the rich culture of the Mariachi and in this article they discuss why Mariachi should be respected as artists.

Despite the fact that any Barbie doll placed in the hands of a little girl (regardless of race) will eventually end up wearing random clothes, the clothing on this Mariachi Barbie is fairly accurate and respectful to the culture. Most Hispanic little girls probably can’t sing along with Mariachi music and they’d rather listen to today’s top Pop hits, this doll is still a step in the right direction, it may encourage girls to ask questions about their heritage and ask to know more about what a Mariachi actually is, maybe they’ll even discover Trio Ella or Mariachi Divas (all-female mariachi groups).

As ridiculed and looked down upon as the Hispanic culture can be in the USA (immigration laws, stereotypes of work ethic, assumed intelligence, etc), there is still hope. Be proud if you’re a Latina/Latino/Hispanic person! Embrace what Mattel has done and tell your little girls they don’t have to be blonde, busty, and vapid. Barbie does evoke a sense of shallowness, but she’s also a symbol that girls can do anything boys can do (but apparently do it in pink). Mattel’s Mariachi Barbie isn’t a pinkified version of the real thing, it is a fairly accurate depiction of a great artist in their traditional garb. There have been Mexico dolls in the past, but this is the first one depicting a specific element of the culture.Let’s hope this is the first step towards greater things and more respect for our Hispanic communities!

 
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