Arts and Entertainment

The spirit of tradition: Carnation's Ixtapa dancing horses, Mariachi

  - Seth Truscott/Staff Photo
— image credit: Seth Truscott/Staff Photo

Flying hooves, sumptuous costumes and festive music have been a part of Carnation’s Fourth of July celebration for years.

The Ixtapa dancing horses are an annual tradition that makes this fiesta special.

Horses are presented and ridden by the owners, family and friends of the Ixtapa chain of family Mexican restaurants and their affiliates.

They continue a 400-year-old tradition of the local community and families working together to organize and hold a rodeo for the local Mexican cowboys, called charros. In these competitions, the charros would compete to display their skills in horsemanship, rope skills and cattle roping. These events were held not so much to declare a winner, but to give the entire community a part in the fiesta.

The Mariachi are a traditional folk band. With instruments originally brought to the New World by the Spanish, the Mexican musicians combined them in unique ways. Starting around the nineteenth century, the Mariachi bands incorporated the popular songs of their region into their style. These were typically songs about country life including the plants and animals of the region. Courtship is another popular topic of the music, often using imagery of the rituals of the farm animals to describe the relationships of men and women.

Dancing became associated with the music as the musicians worked the popular songs of the day into their repertoires. Using styles derived from the Spanish, dancers began to develop steps and costumes unique to their region and often to the song.

• Carnation Ixtapa Restaurant is located at 522 Tolt Ave.; Call the restaurant at (425) 333-6788.


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