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Mexico Week Returns to Rockefeller Center for the Second Year Running

By Emmie MurphyOct 25 2022
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For the second year in a row, Rockefeller Center is bringing back Mexico Week. Originally hosted on-site from 1964 through the mid-1970s, Mexico Week is a celebration of the richness of Mexican heritage and culture. Jorge Islas, the Consul General of Mexico, describes it as “an inheritance of the Contemporary Mexico from our indigenous communities that have been celebrating this tradition since pre-Hispanic times.”

But as with every comeback, this one has its own twist. Running from October 27 through November 2, the week-long festivities will include a host of new events and activities, all open to the public. “Just because we are celebrating the same tradition, [that] doesn’t mean the celebration is not going to be unique,” explains Islas.

The celebrations will also coincide with Día de Muertos, a Mexican holiday that commemorates the dead. The holiday stems from Catholic religious rituals as well as indigenous traditions that were celebrated by ancient peoples. The belief is that upon dying, souls traveled to the Land of the Dead, or Chicunamictlán. In Chicunamictlán, souls are then confronted with nine levels of challenges that must be surpassed to reach the final resting place of Mictlán. On the Day of the Dead (traditionally November 1 to 2) it is said that the border between the spirit world and human world is dissolved, allowing souls to reunite with their families and loved ones for this brief period.

Blending traditions like Día de Muertos with elements of contemporary Mexican culture, Rockefeller Center’s Mexico Week aims to celebrate the old and the new. Read on for what to see and do.

Art and Culture Events During Mexico Week

The celebrations kick off early with a showcase of Mexican artistry. From October 19 through November 2, an exhibition featuring the work of celebrated Mexican artist José Guadalupe Posada is on display in the lobby of 10 Rockefeller Plaza. In memory of Posada’s 170th Anniversary, the Consulate General of Mexico in New York teamed up with the artist’s foundation to mount the retrospective. Posada worked as a commercial illustrator, creating designs for a wide range of print materials. Today, he is best known for his satirical cartoons featuring skulls and bones. Posada has remained an inspiration for Mexican artists for generations, including the likes of Diego Rivera and Frida Kahlo.

Other public installations will feature a number of contemporary Mexican artists throughout Rockefeller Center’s campus. The Center Plaza will, once again, feature an ofrenda, an altar that pays tribute to the dead. This year’s ofrenda will be accompanied by monumental Jaguar & Quetzalcoatl sculptures by Cesar Menchaca. Menchaca is an important Mexican creative and head of Menchaca Studio. Much of his art pays tribute to the traditions of the Huichol people, an indigenous group from Mexico and the United States. Huichol art is characterized by bold colors and intricate designs primarily made from beads and yarn.

There will also be completely new additions to Mexico Week’s programming. There’s one, in particular, to look forward to, says Islas: “Among all the exciting activities, I am particularly excited about… the first official Day of the Dead Walk, which will take place on Saturday, October 29, and will consist of a walk to honor our dead starting at Times Square and ending at the ofrenda [on] the Center Plaza.”

What to Eat and Drink During Mexico Week

Food is a cornerstone of Mexican culture, and there will be plenty of opportunities to experience both traditional and pioneering examples of Mexican cuisine. Each day at Center Plaza there will also be an open-air market, or tianguis, where visitors can grab something to eat and drink. Casa Dragones, a small-batch Mexican tequila brand, will offer personalized Joven bottles and will be educating visitors on the art of sipping tequilas. The distillery was co-founded by CEO Bertha González Nieves, the first female Maestra Tequilera to be certified by the Mexican Academy of Tequila Tasters.

Once you’ve whet your whistle, it’s time to indulge in some eats. For a taste of a traditional Mexican bakery, or panadería, try Don Paco López. The family-owned and run bakery is especially known for a sweet pastry called Rosa de Reyes, which has earned them fame throughout the city.

For a taste of the traditional, try South Philly Barbacoa, which specializes in slow-cooked barbacoa-style tacos. For the unexpected blend of Mexican and French cuisine, go to La Contenta. Chef and Founder Luis Arce Mota draws on his Mexican roots and French culinary education to create a unique dining experience.

Looking for a palette cleanser? Try La Newyorkina. Founded by Fany Gerson, La Newyorkina is a Mexican ice cream and sweet shop based in New York. Their specialty is Paletas, a Mexican ice pop that is made from a blend of fresh fruit and sweet ingredients. Better yet, all of their desserts are made in small batches from scratch.

Shopping During Mexico Week

Open until 10pm, the tianguis will feature handcrafted, artisanal goods and textiles from a variety of artisans. In addition, designer Carla Fernández will offer select fashions for purchase that demonstrate the textile legacy of indigenous and mestizo communities throughout Mexico. Fernández’s eponymous fashion label is dedicated to incorporating the country’s rich textile heritage into contemporary styles, demonstrating that old and new can work in harmony together. Fernández has been exhibited at museums across the globe and won many prestigious awards including the Fashion Entrepreneur of the Year by the British Council and Design Miami’s Design Visionary prize.

Mexico Week will run from October 27 through November 2 at Rockefeller Center. It is free and open to the public.

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