The Encyclopedia of Guerrero and Guerrerismos

Today I want to share a wonderful find: an encyclopedia of Guerrero, Mexico (Enciclopedia Guerrerense) and its appendix, Guerrerismos, or idiomatic terms and phrases of Guerrero state.

The online encyclopedia of Guerrero is in Spanish but does have links to translations via the Google translation service. It is indexed in several ways: General index, biographical index, general cultural index, index of flora and fauna, and a municipal index with regional geographical, sociological, and historical information, maps, statistics, etc..

State of Guerrero, Mexico

Here are a few of my discoveries while browsing through the website:

Biographical Index: José Mariano Azueta Abád

Under the biographical index of the encyclopedia, I find the entry for José Mariano Azueta Abád, who was born in Acapulco, Guerrero in 1895 and is known as a defender of Veracruz during the US occupation of the port in 1914, dying there of wounds sustained during the invasion. In 1953, the state of Guerrero honored him by giving his name to the municipality of what is now Zihuatanejo de Azueta on the Pacific coast of the state of Guerrero, Mexico.

General Cultural Index: Fiesta de los Masúchiles

In the general cultural index, I look up, at random, the Fiesta de los Masúchiles, which I’ve never heard of before, and find out that it’s an annual fair that takes place in early October in Olinalá in the southern part of the state. The town is known for its lacquered gourds and boxes.

The festivities honor San Francisco, patron saint of Olinalá, with religious processions, fireworks, and regional dances for which the younger townspeople dress up in masks and colorful costumes.The celebrants and members of the procession hold masúchiles, which, according to the encyclopedia, are branchlike standards or flags up to two meters high decorated with leaves, flowers, and chiles.

Flora and Fauna: Gordolobo or Mullein

Under the flora and fauna index, I look up Gordolobo (Verbascum thapsus L.) or mullein, a plant I’d love to grow in my garden. I find out that it does grow in Guerrero, although the encyclopedia doesn’t specify if it’s tolerant of the heat and humidity of the coast. It is prized for the curative properties of its leaves and flowers.  It is not at all toxic and has been used since ancient times for coughs, as a diuretic, and as an anti-inflammatory.

The Glossary of Guerrerismos

There is a link on the website to a PDF file of Appendix II of the Enciclopedia Guerrerense, which deals with Guerrerismos, or idiomatic words and phrases common in the state. Here we can find terms of Náhuatl, Spanish, Purépecha, and other derivations that are often used in other parts of Mexico but that may have particular meanings in different regions of the state of Guerrero. Below are a few examples.

¡ajúmala! (Spanish): An enthusiastic cry at a dance or rodeo, stemming from  Tierra Caliente: ¡ajúmala, calentano!

borrego (Spanish): A cloth bag, tied around the waist to hang in front, used to carry money and other necessities; part of the regional dress of the men of Tierra Caliente.

contrario (Spanish): Enemy, as used on the Costa Chica.

espeque (Spanish): A metal digging tool common on the  Costa Chica.

ñagual (Náhuatl): A circle of rolled cloth placed on the head to help balance jugs or containers. Variation of the Náhuatl term nejagual used in other parts of Mexico.

puneche (Náhuatl): Small fish used for bait. On the Costa Chica, puchinque means a small piece of anything.

querenque (Purépecha): To be enamored. Used on the Costa Grande and in Tierra Caliente.

requiaque (Spanish): It means a long time ago… A turn of phrase from Tierra Caliente.

tlacualero (Náhuatl): A person who delivers food (tlacualli) to laborers.

Of course, there are many more terms in the regional glossary. It is downloadable for study.

The Enciclopedia Guerrerense is published by Guerrero Cultural Siglo XXI, A.C. A print version (commemorative edition) is on sale at Guerrero Cultural Siglo XXI, Playa Cívica Primer Congreso de Anáhuac, Palacio de Cultura Ignacio Manuel Altamirano, Sótano 1, Col. Centro, Chilpancingo, Gro., Mexico.