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Wednesday, July 6, 2022

Giant alebrijes to parade through Mérida this weekend

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Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Local artist José Manuel Paredes poses next to his colorful creations. Photo: Courtesy

This weekend several giant alebrijes will parade along Mérida’s Centro.

Alebrijes are brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical mythical creatures. Though originally made only of paper-mâché, wooden variations have also become popular since the 1940s. 

The event is organized by Subhro AC, a local nonprofit organization promoting the arts, culture, and sustainable community development.

The parade will take place on Oct. 30 and kick off at 5 p.m in Mérida’s Plaza Grande. It will then move up Calle 60 until turning on Paseo de Montejo’s remate and then continue on to the Monumento a la Patria.

After the parade has finished, the giant alebrijes will be on exhibition on Paseo de Montejo for 15 days. 

Earlier: Xoloitzcuintle: Mexican dog said to ‘guard men through the underworld’

Though this is the first time such a parade will be held in Mérida, similar events have been popping up around Mexico over the past decade or so. 

A giant Alebrije parade in Mexico City in front of the iconic Palacio de Bellas Artes. Photo: Courtesy

Alebrijes were first created by the Mexican artist Pedro Linares, who before his big breakthrough had specialized in making piñatas and carnival masks. The idea to invent alebrijes came to him during an intense fever dream set in a forest full of unnaturally colored creatures with many wings, horns, and bulging eyes. 

Linare’s bizarre creations soon began to take off and even caught the attention of Mexico’s most famous artists, including Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

Alebrijes for sale at the Pochote Market in the city of Oaxaca. Photo: Courtesy

Today alebrijes of varying sizes and quality can be found across Mexico but have become closely associated with Oaxaca. The price of alebrijes can vary widely, but large highly detailed pieces or ornate sets often go for hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

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