Mariachi music has enormous popularity. Anywhere in the world, listening to the distinct strumming of the vihuela (string instrument that resembles guitar/lute), the guitar, the guitarrón, and trumpets and violins, can evoke pleasure and sentiment.
Mariachis consist of a musical group, that may vary in size. The instruments the musicians use may vary, depending on the size of the group; but always include a guitarron, the vihuela, the guitar, the trumpet, and some violins. Larger ensembles include brass and strings.
In contemporary Mexico, mariachis keep traditional music alive. Mariachi music is performed in public squares, in serenades, birthdays, and parties.
Mariachi interprets traditional music and evokes expressions of identity and nationalism. Mariachi is recognized as a fundamental element of Mexican culture by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), through which values, history and different languages are transmitted. It is considered as Intangible Heritage of Humanity.
January 21 is celebrated as International Mariachi Day.
The most common version of the origin of the word mariachi, is that the word comes from the French mariage (marriage). In the state of Jalisco, during the French occupation, musical groups were hired for weddings. The mariachi group was originally comprised of a guitarist, two violins, a vihuela and guitarrón. Later, they transformed into a traveling musical group, and were hired to sing for fiestas, birthdays, serenades, etc. By the end of the nineteenth century, several mariachi groups emigrated to Mexico City.
Mariachi attire is similar to clothing worn by charros. Inspired by clothes worn by the peasants with ornaments of Spanish clothing, Mariachis wear pants with buttons and/or silver/gold locks, a bow tie, jacket with buttons, ankle boots with spurs, and large hats.
Mariachis wear large hats.
The musical influence of mariachi has transcended to different parts of the world, including the United States, Venezuela, Colombia, El Salvador, Austria, Japan and France.
Government of Mexico