Candles are an important part of pueblo life. They are used for a variety of religious and other celebrations such as weddings, confirmations and “quinceaños,” the Mexican equivalent of Sweet Sixteen that takes place at 15 years of age. Finer candle makers create graceful, elaborate configurations incorporating natural elements such as glorious flowers and birds in a wide array of sizes.

Candle makers create wonderful wax palettes, encompassing a range of subtle and brilliant colors, sometimes accented with flowers of paper and tinsel. The great majority of candles are made in Teotitlán del Valle, the same pueblo known for rugs and wall hangings.  Here the creation of ceremonial candles to be placed before altars is in keeping with the pueblo’s persistent religious and cultural Zapotec influence.

This is evident in the older generation’s traditional dress, their greater familiarity with the Zapotec language than with Spanish, and the bi-lingualism of many of its younger citizens.

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The PBS Peabody award winning documentary series "Craft in America" filmed portions of two excellent upcoming programs in Oaxaca, one -- "Neighbors" -- partially in collaboration with FOFA. These programs explore connections through craft between Mexico and the United States.

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Oaxacan Popular Arts in the New Millennium, Nurturing Young Artists

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