Skip to Main Content

¡Viva la Fiesta! Mexican Traditions of Celebration: Home

Bancroft Gallery Exhibit Oct. 2017 - Feb. 2018

¡Viva la Fiesta! Mexican Traditions of Celebration

¡Viva la Fiesta! explores the cycle of traditional religious and patriotic celebrations that have for centuries marked the Mexican calendar. The exhibition draws on unique historical representations of the fiestas and examines their relationship to communal identities, national politics, religious practices, and indigenous customs. These original materials, which are preserved in The Bancroft Library’s Latin Americana Collection and date from the sixteenth century to the present, include early baptismal records in Spanish and Nahuatl, images of Christmas pastorelas and posadas, sermons honoring local patron saints, and accounts of Marian devotions, such as the annual festival of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

¡Viva la fiesta! explora el ciclo de celebraciones tradicionales religiosas y patrióticas que por siglos han marcado al calendario mexicano. La exhibición se vale de representaciones históricas únicas de las fiestas y examina su relación con identidades comunales, políticas nacionales, prácticas religiosas y costumbres indígenas. Estos materiales originales, los cuales se preservan en la Colección latinoamericana de The Bancroft Library y datan desde el siglo dieciséis hasta el presente, incluyen libros bautismales en español y náhuatl, imágenes de las pastorelas y posadas navideñas, sermones en honor a santos patronos, y relatos sobre las devociones marianas, como la fiesta anual a Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe.

Curator of Latin Americana

Profile Photo
José Adrián Barragán-Álvarez
The Bancroft Library

Visiting the Bancroft Library

Bancroft Library interiorThe Bancroft Library is one of the treasures of the campus, and one of the world's great libraries for the history of the American West and Mexico.

Some Bancroft materials are available online via Calisphere, which also includes primary sources from many other California libraries and museums. Bancroft also maintains additional digital resources.


Before you go:

Be prepared! Read secondary sources and know something about your topic.

Register as a researcher. Registration is free and takes just a few minutes using the Aeon online registration form to register in advance. For more information, see the Aeon guide.

In UC Library Search you can narrow your search to UC Berkeley special collections and archives. As you type your search, options to search different parts of the Library system appear. Narrowing your search this way is also possible in Advanced Search.

search box

Materials must be requested using Aeon. You must have an Aeon account to request materials. It is recommended that you request your materials in advance of your visit and to submit your requests at least one week prior to your visit to Bancroft.  For more information please visit the Aeon guide.

If the UC Library Search record mentions a finding aid (an index) to a manuscript collection, you should use it to help you find what you need in the collection.  If the finding aid is online, there will be a link from the catalog record.  Many of the finding aids that are not online are shelved near the Registration Desk at the Bancroft Library. You can also search for Bancroft finding aids in the Online Archive of California.

Before you go, plan your visit (and bring a quarter for a locker).


During your visit:

  1. Store your belongings in the lockers provided, located on the right-hand side of the east entrance. Pass the security guard station and proceed up one level by stairs or elevator to the Reading Room and Seminar Rooms (3rd floor).
  2. Check in at the Registration Desk, located on the left-hand side of the entrance to the Reference Center. You will need a photo ID.
  3. Go to the Circulation Desk, where you will be assigned a seat and can request the materials you pre-ordered.  
  4. For research-related questions, ask for assistance at the Reference Desk.


How to Get to the Bancroft Library

Check the current hours for the Bancroft Library.  For more information, see the Aeon guide.

The Bancroft Library is on the second floor of Doe, on the east side (the side closest to the Campanile). See a floor plan of Doe Library 2nd floor (pdf).