Festival Internacional Cervantino
The Cervantino International Festival is the most important cultural and artistic festival in the Spanish speaking world and ranks among the top four festivals globally.
It is celebrated each year for two weeks in the month of October, in Guanajuato, a small colonial-era city located in central Mexico, with a history of having a large cultural scene.
Guanajuato was one of the biggest and most important mining centers of New Spain and became a key spot for Mexican Independence. The richness of the mines in colonial times started a tradition of theaters and other cultural venues to satisfy the interests of the middle and upper classes. The city has a tradition of hosting musical, theatrical and dance events not only in its numerous theaters but also in its many small plazas with benches.
The first-ever Cervantino took place in 1953, initiated by Enrique Ruelas, professor at the University of Guanajuato, who started an annual event of short plays called the “Entremeses de Miguel de Cervantes Saaevedra”, to direct a tribute to the famous Spanish novelist, Miguel de Cervantes who influenced and contributed to the regional culture of this part of México.
Being named after Spanish writer Miguel de Cervantes, the Festival has a special emphasis on artistic expressions in the Spanish language, with the original tradition of performing this writer’s “entremeses” plays upheld by the University Theater of Guanajuato. The international participation is to create a space for cultural discovery and exchange.
The festival is set up to attract young people from children to university age, as well as artists from all over the world to present typical aspects of culture from each country. Acts include genres such as opera, music, dance, theatre, street spectaculars, visual arts, film and literature along with various academic events.
The whole city participates with many activities organized on the sidelines of the festival including small coffee-house performances, and music concerts with popular music groups. It is quite common to have theater, living statues and musicians performing on the streets and plazas around the city.
Every year a special country and state of Mexico is invited to make cultural contributions to the festival.
For the 46th Cervantino Festival in October 2018, India has been selected as Guest of Honour country.
A promotional logo of India’s participation was unveiled on the concluding day of Cervantino 2017, by H.E. Muktesh Pardeshi, Ambassador of India in Mexico.
Past guest countries include Argentina, Chile, Colombia, France, Denmark, Finland, Norway, Sweden, Austria, Poland, Switzerland, Uruguay, Perú, and Spain.
This festival was celebrated locally for twenty years until it was internationalized in 1972, when artists from around the world gathered to participate in the popular event.
During its 45 years of existence, El Cervantino, as it is popularly called, has received national and international artists, and has played a large role in helping the city of Guanajuato increase its visibility and become an important tourist destination.
To recognize the historical importance and architectural beauty of Guanajuato, in 1988 the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) named it Cultural Heritage of Humanity. The city was designated America’s Cervantin Capital in 2005.