Latin - Mexican Folk Art Craft

                   About the Culture of Otomis, Otomi !


                                              Culture of Otomis - Otomi !

The Name Otomi - ( Otomí ) comes from the Nahua and means ''Cazadores que llevan Flechas'' (Hunters who carry arrows) and it was applied generically by the Aztecs to several ethnic groups which they consider fierce and cruel. The Othomí language is one of the oldest languages in Mexico but just half the actual Otomí population speaks it. The Otomis communicate in different Otomi dialects or in Spanish.

The Native Otomi group is originally from center of Mexico (Valle del Mezquital ). Now the Otomis live en several states in Mexico which go from the north of Guanajuato all the way to the south to Tlaxcala. majority of the Otomi people live in Hidalgo, Mexico, Qureretaro, Puebla, Veracruz, Morelos, Mexico and Tlaxcala. In Mexico live around 600.000 Othomis which makes them the fifth largest ethnic group in Mexico.

The majority of Otomis practice the Catholic religion but there are also Evangelic present. The most important crops for the Otomis are the maguey, corn, beans, nopal (cactus), chilies and alfalfa. For livestock farming they have sheep, goats and pigs but they complete their diet with fruits, herbs and wild animals. Other related ethnic groups to the Otomis are Mazahua, Matlatzinca, Pame, Jonaz.

The most important productive activities are raising livestock, farming, hunting, fishing, arts, pottery, metal working, textile, rope, string production and amates. Typical Otomi art are embroidered garments and other textile arts, amate bark paper - natural, or painted. Also they are famous for their beautiful hand painted wood and pottery art, wood carvings and small wood instruments and different products made out of reed-grass or palm leaves. They are also known for their natural colors which they use to produce the rope and string.

The Otomis use very typical suits, mostly made out of hand-embroidered cotton manta and the embroiderings are always made with bright and different colors. The men use palm leaf hats and huarache shoes made out of old tires.  The Otomis are also very famous for making their own domestic medicine in their traditional way, using different parts from different animals, herbs, plants or other organic material.