- Title: MEXICO: Mariachis celebrate their patron saint Cecilia with lively serenades
- Date: 3rd December 2007
- Summary: (SOUNDBITE) (Spanish) MARIACHI MUSICIAN, LINDA CARMEN, SAYING: "It means a lot to me because not just anyone is born with this gift and it is very emotional for me to be in the celebration of Saint Cecilia today."
- Embargoed: 18th December 2007 12:00
- Location: Mexico
- Country: Mexico
- Topics: Arts / Culture / Entertainment / Showbiz
- Reuters ID: LVABBQA576Q2BO86BLI4FF46CO0B
- Story Text: Hundreds of mariachi musicians gather in downtown Mexico to celebrate their patron saint, Cecilia, with traditional Mexican music.
Lively music echoed throughout downtown Mexico on Thursday (November 22) as hundreds of mariachis celebrated the day of their patron saint.
Clad in their traditional garb of cropped jackets and wide sombreros, the musicians gathered in one of the capitals main plazas where they gave a concert in honour of Saint Cecilia.
"It means a lot to me because not just anyone is born with this gift and it is very emotional for me to be in the celebration of Saint Cecilia today," said musician Linda Carmen.
Mariachis originated in the 19th century in the southern state of Jalisco where they brightened up festivals and weddings in the towns of Cocula, Ameca and Tecatitlan. Their instruments include guitars, violins and harp. Many modern day mariachi groups have eliminated the harp in favour of the trumpet.
Despite their Mexican origins, one musician explained that mariachis are popular throughout the world.
"There are not just Mexican mariachis, there are Central American mariachis, Colombian, Chilean, Uruguayan, Paraguayan - in Japan, in Spain, in Holland. I have been to many places and there are mariachis in these countries - in the United States there are courses in the Mexican schools that are there," said Alfredo Luna.
The name "mariachi" came from French soldiers who arrived in Mexico in the 1800s and called the musicians "marriage", the French word for wedding.
For the last 30 years, Mexico City's mariachis have organized themselves on November 22 to honour their patron saint, Cecilia.
Following the concert in the Garibaldi, dozens of the mariachis marched in a lively procession to the Basilica of Guadalupe, where they serenaded the alter with popular national songs.
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