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The Enthralling Celebration of Dia de la Samaritana: Embracing Oaxacan Tradition and Spanish Practice

Updated: Mar 8

The History of La Samaritana in Oaxaca

Dia de la Samaritana is not just a festival; it's a profound expression of Oaxacan culture and generosity.

Dia de la samaritana at Instituto Cultural Oaxaca
Dia de la samaritana at Instituto Cultural Oaxaca

On Friday, March 8, 2024, the Oaxaca Cultural Institute participates, as it does every year, in celebrating one of the most significant and symbolic traditions of the Oaxacan people in the liturgical context of Lent, Samaritan Friday.

Lent, within the Christian tradition, is the period of spiritual preparation before the celebration of Easter, which begins with the ceremony of Ash Wednesday, which took place on February 14 this year. Four Fridays after that date, one of the best-known biblical episodes of the New Testament, the parable of Jesus and the Samaritan woman at the well, is commemorated. This episode, narrated by John in his gospel, speaks of tolerance and reconciliation between peoples with different beliefs through the spirit of God.

As part of this commemoration, fresh water stands decorated with flowers and chopped Chinese paper are set up outside public buildings, businesses, and schools in Oaxaca, representing the well around the biblical parable. The water is given to people passing by, who stop for a moment to refresh themselves. In some of these stands, the scene even acted out, with people dressed as Jesus and the Samaritan woman.

No matter who you are or where you come from, the water offered to you is given as friendship and love for your neighbor, just as the Samaritan woman gave it to Jesus regardless of the differences between the Samaritans and the Jews."

If you are in Oaxaca that day, go to any stall you see and choose from various flavors of aguas frescas and, in some places, even nieves; all this is free.

5 Spanish phrases you can use in the Dia de La Samaritana to practice Spanish.

  1. ¿Agua de qué sabor tienes?

  2. ¿Me das a probar un poquito de agua de horchata?

  3. ¡Me gustó más el agua de jamaica!

  4. ¿Qué es la chilacayota?

  5. ¡Qué rica esta el agua!

Flavors of the aguas frescas at the Samaritana.

Most aguas frescas on the Day of the Samaritana are made with seasonal ingredients; flavors include jamaica (hibiscus), horchata, tamarind, Chilacayota, and mango. Some stalls also sell Tejate, a prehispanic Oaxacan drink made with corn, cocoa, mamey pits, and cocoa flowers.

Eco-friendly tips for La Samaritana Day.

To collaborate with the environment, carrying a glass with you is better to reduce the use of disposable cups. This practice is becoming increasingly common, and there are even places where you cannot receive water if you do not bring your own glass.

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