Escamol: the ants caviar of Mexico

Escamol is an ancient dish made with the edible larvae and pupae of two species of ants, known for its nutty, buttery flavor and It has been consumed in Mexico since the time of the Aztecs. Commonly known as “Mexican caviar” because of its similarity to the popular fish eggs, escamol consists larvae and pupae of ants belonging to the Liometopum apiculatum and L. occidentale, two species native to some semi-arid areas of Mexico and the southern United States. Its origins can be traced back hundreds of years, back to…

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Some fascinating facts you probably don’t know about the Day of the Dead

First: did you know that the Day of the Dead has a history older than Christmas? Historically, Jesus of Nazareth was born in the year 1 A.D., despite some the scholars argue Jesus’ birthday was closer to 5 B.C. Well, while Mary and Joseph were bickering over baby names, Mesoamerican cultures like the Maya were already about 1,000 years deep into an annual festival of death and rebirth, honoring their departed ancestors and something like the afterlife. To many indigenous Americans, death was seen as a continuance of life, a…

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12 Ways Halloween is celebrated around the globe

In America, people associate Halloween with pumpkins, costumes, candy, and spooky stories or ghosts but, around the world, it could be a little different. The holiday might look slightly different this year since we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, but we can reminisce on years past. If most places in the U.S. celebrate Halloween in much the same way, one city that stands apart is New Orleans. This town loves both to party and voodoo, so one can find things here they couldn’t anywhere else, from…

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Catemaco: the witchcraft capital of Mexico

We are in Catemaco, in eastern Mexico. Built on the shores of the eponymous lake, the town has a long history of fishing, even though nowadays, the town’s main economic activity is tourism. In the 1970s, tourism to Catemaco spiked massively owing to the fame of Gonzalo Aguirre, a renowned sorcerer who lived and practiced in the region. During his lifetime, Aguirre performed rituals for politicians, actors, and business leaders. He also organized a witchcraft convention that brought together the country’s top shamans for a black mass. After his death,…

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The leaning Lighthouse of Puerto Morelos, Mexico

We are in Puerto Morelos, located about halfway between the Riviera Maya hubs of Cancún and Playa del Carmen. Believe it or not, the small seaside town has had a troubled history when it comes to its lighthouses.The first lighthouse dates back to 1905, although it seems it was little more than a light atop a metal pole. The second, almost 10 meters tall, was built out of cement in almost the same location, right on the beach, in 1946. Painted white with blue trim, this second light was hit…

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Chichen Itza Chirp: clapping at base of an ancient pyramid echoes the call of a sacred bird

Chichen Itza, a pre-Colombian archaeological site built by the Mayans in northern Yucatan, Mexico, is home to many architectural and cultural wonders, and one of this has baffled acoustics experts for decades. The Temple of Kukulkan is one of the most visually-striking structures at Chichen Itza, but perhaps its most intriguing characteristic is acoustic. The reason? Clapping at the base of the Mayan pyramid causes an echo that resembles a bird’s chirp. Do it repeatedly, or in a group, and the echos will sound like a chorus of ghostly chirps…

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The curious Toy Cemetery at Coyoacán Bazaar – Mexico

We are in Coyoacán, Mexico. Known officially as the Mercado Artesanal Mexicano (Mexican Crafts Market), but colloquially as El Bazar, this market is a reference point in city center. Located on the Street Felipe Carrillo Puerto in Coyoacán, in this market you can find different Mexican art such as bracelets, clothes, toys, incenses, necklaces, tattoos, plants and “alebrijes”, brightly colored Mexican folk art sculptures of fantastical creatures. A place full of color, tradition and life, where you can find the crafts that characterize Mexico. However, hidden beneath the small cacti…

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Macromural de Pachuca: the world’s largest mural covers a large swath of homes in Mexico.

We are just north of Mexico City, in Pachuca de Soto, the capital city of the Mexican State of Hidalgo. The city boasts one of the largest murals in the world. Murals have always been an example of artwork around the world. Excluding the luxurious wall murals in Pompeiian villas, or the various streetart inside lot of abandoned places, most murals, at least the modern ones, adorn building’s exteriors and are meant for public consumption. But in few cases are the murals so big that they stretch across multiple buildings,…

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La Pascualita: the Mystery of the “Corpse Bride” exhibited in a shop window in Mexico

Embalmed corpses are not an unusual tourist attraction. Several popes are on view at the Vatican, and it’s normal that visitors still flock to see Lenin’s preserved body in Moscow’s Red Square. Yet however macabre, these corpses serve something of a historical purpose. But that’s not quite the case of La Pascualita, a Mexican tourist attraction that has long had people wondering whether it’s a mannequin or a corpse being used as one! Behind an unpretentious shop window of a small wedding dress shop, in Chihuahua, Mexico, there is the…

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Vampires, pirates and ghosts from Panteón de Belen (Santa Paula Cemetery) in Mexico

We are in Guadalajara, the capital and center of commerce of Mexico’s state of Jalisco. Panteón de Belen, known also as Santa Paula Cemetery, is located north of the Metropolitan Cathedral of Guadalajara in the heart of Mexico’s third largest city. The name Cementerio de Santa Paula, or in English, the Saint Paula Cemetery, comes from the fact that there is a chapel dedicated to the saint on the cemetery grounds. The cemetery was designed by the famous Mexican architect, Manuel Gómez Ibarra, who, 30 years earlier, redesigned the spires…

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La Casa del Diablo – The Devil’s House of San Luis Tehuiloyocan, Mexico

We are in San Luis Tehuiloyocan, Mexico, and despite the Cholula government has tried to eliminate the reputation surrounding the Amoxcalli Library and its dark past, the entire town still knows the building as La Casa del Diablo (The Devil’s House) because of the artwork on its facade and the rumors the home was the site of satanic worship. The images on the house date back to the 17th century and were created using a technique called “cracked stones”, that involved inserting volcanic stones into form figures to create different…

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Mexico: the ruin of an abandoned convent in the “Desert of the Lions”~

Contrary to what the name suggests, Desierto de los Leones, in english “Desert of the Lions”, is neither a desert nor are there any lions. It is just the name of both Mexico’s first national park and the abandoned convent located within its forests. Actually, the origin of the name comes from the forest’s remote location outside Mexico City, and because the Spanish settlers were surprised at the number of Puma they encountered in the area, which they called “lions”. Actually, it’s said that it owes its name to the…

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The cult of “Santa Muerte”: pre-Columbian deity venerated even today

“El que apura su vida, apura su muerte” “Who accelerates his life, accelerates his death“. This Mexican proverb describes the death, common and certain destiny of every living being. Yet, despite death is an obvious epilogue of our existence, it is not so obvious how to deal it during our earthly stay! There are people who consider it as a deity who address to, able to change our fate. Patron of the poor, prostitutes, prisoners, the Santa Muerte is the deity whom the “poor” of society ask help. The cult…

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Popocatépetl and Iztaccíhuatl: the Tragic Legend of the Aztec Lovers who turned into Volcanoes.

Myths and legends of every people of the earth are closely linked to the territory in which they are born. So it was also for the Mayans and the Aztecs who lived in Mexico before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors. In this zone, two of the many volcanoes of that land rich in history have become symbols of a tragic love story. Volcanoes were very important to the Aztecs: in their pantheon, the deity that represented them was Xiuhtecuhtli, the god of the day, of heat and fire, the…

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Maguey worms: a mexican tasty snack.

Here we are: If we are in Mexico, and at some point we want to go to the restaurant. But what can we find at the restaurant? Mexican cuisine is actually very different from the surrogates we are used to enjoying in Europe. Today I want to present a tasty dish typical of this fascinating country. The maguey worm is not really a worm, but a caterpillar, and make their home in the agave plants. There are two kind of worms, white and red, both among the most prestigious insects…

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Zona del Silencio: the urban legend magnet for curious.

We are lost in the desert in northern Mexico, between the states of Durango, Chihuahua and Coahuila, in an area known as zona del silencio, in english, the “zone of silence”. This area is also known as Mapimí Silent Zone, for its close proximity to the mexican city of Mapimi. According to the legend, in this area electromagnetic transmissions cannot be received, radio doesn’t work, compasses do not point to magnetic north, and the flora and fauna have abnormal mutations. Over the years, of course, they told stories about alien,…

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