One of Tecalitlán's major industries was the growing of sugar cane. This industry ended about ten years ago. Nowadays the economy comes from agriculture and the raising of animals such as cattle, pigs, chickens, and goat. A lot of the money that comes to the town comes from people that have migrated to the United States to work and send money to their families back home.
Tecalitlán is at the heart of the region where mariachi music was developed, and in fact the most famous exponent of that genre, Vargas de Tecalitlán, was founded there in the 1890s (though now resident in Mexico City). There is a museum of this mariachi in Tecalitlan. Tecalitlan has a lot of traditions, like the fiestas de diciembre which celebrate religion and the love toward virgen of Guadalupe. People in this town are very friendly. A very interesting tradition kept until now, is that every Sunday after mass, people are used to going to the center of the town (jardin) and spend their afternoon socializing with other people of the town. In this Jardin, girls walk one way and boys on the other way so they face each other. There is the cerro de la cruz, a mountain were there is a cross that people go to visit and offer sacrifices.
A local culinary specialty is birria, a savory stew made from goat meat and other ingredients.There are also other foods like tacos, sopes, pozole, tostadas, enchiladas and many more Mexican traditional foods.
On December 11, 2010, a gunbattle between rival gangs killed 11 people during a Virgin of Guadalupe celebration. Armed men arrived in three cars and opened fire on another group of gunmen in the main plaza of Tecalitlan
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