Being held today in Mexico is the rather unusual festival of the Annual Witch Gathering. On the shores of Laguna Catemaco, Mexico the festival, known as Congreso de Brujos, is held each year on the first Friday in March. Healers and witch doctors meet in the town and provide their services.
Since pre-Hispanic times the Lake Catemaco has been a focus of alternative medicine and its said that the area has been associated with witchcraft since as far back as the Olmec times, more than 2,000 years ago. Today the pretty lakeside town will see magicians, witch doctors (brujos), healers, wizards and of course, witches.
Catemaco is a stunning city in the Mexican state of Veracruz and is situated within the volcanic mountains of the Sierra de Los Tuxtlas. The actual Lake Catemaco’s altitude is 340 meters (1,115 feet). The city has been used as a backdrop for some big films including Apocalypto (2006) with Mel Gibson and of course Sean Connery’s Medicine Man (1992) in which he plays a witch doctor!
Mexico is no stranger to bizarre and wacky festivals as can be seen later in the year when they also hold the annual Xochimilco Festival of the Prettiest Flower. This is held in Xochimilco, Mexico and for those who want to attend it is running from 1-8 April 2009. The festival is a stunning riot of color and honors the goddesses of flowers and dance – and a fantastic excuse to get dressed up in wild costumes which of course include plenty of flowers! The festival is to ensure a good harvest and the whole town joins in and decorates anything that doesn’t move in flowers. There are then sports, arts and culinary events but highlight is surely waiting to see which lady will be crowned the “prettiest flower”.
Xochimilco is located within the Mexico City region, 28km from the center and is best known for its canals, the beautiful Lake Xochimilco and is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site.