Culture in Mazatlan, Mexico
The reason many travelers choose to visit Mazatlan is to forget the stress of everyday life and to relax on the sandy white beaches with a tropical drink in hand, but this beach resort has much more to offer! Mazatlan is a city very rich in culture and tradition making its offerings to visitors very diverse and abundant.
Ulama is sport that somewhat resembles soccer and originally was played with the hips, the only part of the body that coule be used to hit the 9 pound rubber ball, since a point was lost if the ball is hit with another part of the body. The Ulama court is 165 feet long and 13 feet wide and it divided by a central line separating two teams of 5 players each. In current times, hip ulma is no longer played because of the lack of suitable balls, although the forearm and wooden bat method are still played which is played on a playing court about 130 yards long by about 1.34 yards wide, with a dividing line down the center. This game is played with a maximum of 3 against each other. Players protect their arms with a thin cotton cover so they can hit the solid rubber ball weighing around 1 pound. Playing ulama with a bat involves using a round stick made from hardwood which is grasped with both hands. The front part of the stick, weighing 11-15 pounds is used to hit the ball. Several chroniclers and historians who have studied the development of ball games played in accient Mexico and many have been surprised of the survival of the ulma game in the Sinaloa land.
The Mazatlan Carnaval is one of the largest and most traditional carnivals in the world which is held annually and comparable only to the Rio de Janiero and New Orleans celebrations. Mazatlan Carnaval is a century old pagan festival celebrated a few days before Ash Wednesday and lasts 6, during which time the fiesta achieves moments of joy and great intensity. All of the inhabitants participate in many different ways and every year a great amount of time and effort is expended in decorating the city of Mazatlan. Mazatlan Carnaval is a time of masquerades, games, dances, naval battles with fireworks, music and color. Mazatlan Carnaval has been celebrated annually for over 100 years and each year attracts thousands of visitors from all over the world.
Day of the Dead
On November 1st and 2nd, Mexico celebrates the Day of the Dead. The first is for the remembrance of dead children, and the second is for everyone else who has passed on. Many families will go to the cemetery where their loved ones are buried, and tend to the gravesite by cleaning them, re-painting them and placing new flowers. Some construct the alters rather elaborate with bright colors, pictures and sentimental artifacts of those they wish to remember. When family members visit the cemeteries sometimes they come prepared with a picnic of their loved ones favorite foods and beverages and leave it as a treat for them on the alter. During the weeks leading up to Day of the Dead many homes and businesses set up shrines in the windows with pictures of their passed on loved ones, candles, decorations and Day of the Dead statues which are beautifully crafted skeletons.
Although bullfighting is a controversial sport and tradition it is a large part of not only Mazatlan’s culture but also of all of Mexico. Bullfighting is part of Mexico’s rich history and exhibits skill, courage and form throughout the affair. Bullfighting as we know it today started in the village squares and became formalized with the building of the bullring in Ronda in the late 18th century. Since then bullfighting has begun to follow a particular sequence of events: the entrance of the bull, the picador, the banderilleros and finally the bullfighting (matador in Spanish) In Mazatlan, bullfights are held at the Plaza de Toros Monumentual Bullring at Calzada Rafel Buelna and a short ride from the Golden Zone. Generally bullfighting runs from December to April and sometimes during holidays and celebrations the city of Mazatlan hosts bullfights. Throughout the bullfights there are always intermissions where during that time you can see the beauty of the Mazatlan Dancing Horses who will put on a wonderful show! Bullfighting is not for everyone but witnessing a bullfight is one of the most creative and thrilling experience you can partake in while in Mazatlan – some say you will never truly experience Mexico until you have seen a bullfight.
With colorful culture, deep traditions and rich history, Mazatlan has something to offer all of its visitors!