Fray Servando Teresa de Mier 419, Merced Balbuena, Venustiano Carranza, 15800 Ciudad de México, CDMX
Ever since the time of the Aztecs, the great capital of Tenochtitlán was a place that had several “tianguis” where most of the commercial transactions amongst civilians took place. These tianguis came to evolve into the mercados of today and are still a staple of the city. If you walk any popular and heavily populated area within the city you’ll see the inevitable informal food and clothing stalls operated by individuals simply trying to earn their livelihood. By the mid-XX century, the government of the city sought to regularize these establishments and inaugurated the large markets of the city, such as the Mercado de la Merced, Mercado Jamaica, and Mercado Sonora, who were all inaugurated in 1957 by then-president Adolfo Ruíz Cortines and Ernesto Uruchurtu.
Most markets handle the normal products needed for daily life such as meats, fresh produce, dairy, and assorted kitchenware, but some add a specialty to their selection, and come to be known throughout the city, and even internationally, for their specialization. Mercado Jamaica specializes in flowers, Mercado La Viga in seafood, and Mercado Sonora in herbal remedies and articles used in the occult and esoteric rituals and spells. These exotic types of products are found in the aisles located at the back of the market, which is, in general, a huge metal warehouse, and have brought this particular market most of its recognition.
A great majority of the products offered for “spells” are focused on love, relationships, and protection from other “bad spells”; herbs for medicinal treatment are not necessarily separated from the stalls that sell the herbs for these “magic potions”, reflecting Mexico’s tradition as a culture steeped in popular traditional remedies, an indication of the superstitious nature of the country at its core. There are also candles, oils, soaps, perfumes, tobacco, and other assorted products designed to cast “love spells” or to cleanse someone or yourself from negative energies, or indeed “bad spells” too. There are avocado leaves to diminish inflammation in the body, a plant called chiranthodendron that helps the heart stay healthy, dried dead snakes for cancer treatment, dead skunks to “strengthen the blood”, and many more exotic products.
Mercado Sonora is located a few blocks from the Metro station “Fray Servando” from Línea 4, and many tourists visit it every year as it’s normally included in several tourist guides as an exotic and quirky part of Mexican culture.
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