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Mexico celebrates International Mariachi Day

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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.
A very young mariachi accompanies his parents in song in Tequila  Jalisco. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

Mariachis in Mexico and around the world celebrate International Mariachi Day observed every Jan 21. 

Festivities are planned today in major Mexican cities including Mexico City and Guadalajara, where mariachis are the most ubiquitous. 

However, given the spread of the Omicron variant of COVID-19, several of these celebrations have been scaled back.

Mariachi is a genre of regional Mexican folk music dating back to at least the 18th century, with its origins in several regions of Mexico’s west. 

A mariachi band playing at a wedding in Hacienda Sac Chich, about half an hour away from Mérida. Photo: Carlos Rosado van der Gracht

A typical full mariachi group is made up of as many as eight violins, two trumpets and at least one guitar, including a high-pitched vihuela and an acoustic bass guitar called a guitarrón. 

There is usually one or two principal singers, often being of opposite sexes, but all players take turns singing lead and doing backup vocals.

Some of the most popular songs played by mariachis include El Son de la Negra, Volver Volver, and Mexico Lindo y Querido. 

El Son de la Negra, has become so popular and synonymous with mariachi music that is often referred to as Mexico’s second national anthem. 

Earlier: Live music is back at Yucatán’s restaurants and bars

In Mexico, mariachis are extremely popular at social events such as weddings, birthday parties, and other types of celebrations.  

The cost of hiring a small mariachi band of six or fewer members in Mérida is about 3,000 pesos, but hiring a full band with a dozen or more members can cost upwards of 15,000 pesos —  depending on the band and the location of the event. 

In 2011, UNESCO recognized mariachi as an Intangible Cultural Heritage, to the delight of people across Mexico. 

Though most associated with Mexico, mariachi music has become popular across several regions of Latin America and beyond, with groups being found in most major cities in the United States, Canada, and Europe.

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