Ren Fuller Photography


San Martin Tilcajete Carnival

This was one of the wildest experiences of my life.

While in Oaxaca back in February, my friend Dacia said she wanted to go to a festival she had heard about, an hour outside of the city, that only happened once a year where men cover themselves in motor oil and run through the streets.

This sounded way out of my comfort zone, but in the end I decided I would kick myself for missing it. And so we took a journey to the town of San Martin Tilcajete, a tiny town with a population of just over 1,500 and known for it's Alebrijes, or brightly painted wood carvings. But once a year, during Mardi Gras, on Fat Tuesday, a day long Carnival celebration happens here.

On this day, the entire community comes together, making communal food, passing around endless beers and mezcal to all. As outsiders, we were taken in immediately, offered to join in on the communal meal in the town center. As the morning wore on, young men began to run through the few streets covered in motor oil and masks and bells. At the center of the celebration, there was a mock wedding consisting of cross-dressers, in a family yard. The rest of the participants donned devil like costumes and happily wandered the streets. If you ever find yourself in the area, on Fat Tuesday, this is not to be missed.