Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico, Jan 15 (EFE).- Hundreds of Parachico dancers came out on the streets of Chiapa de Corzo in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas, amid an atmosphere of hope after a difficult year because of the Covid-19 pandemic and a road accident in which 56 migrants died.
The parachicos are traditional dancers of the grand festival of Chiapa de Corzo, which takes place from Jan. 4 to 23. Its origins are pre-Hispanic but eventually merged with Catholicism.
Dancers wear a wooden mask and a colored poncho-style clothing called “sarape”. On the head they wear a “montera”, which is a kind of helmet decorated in a way that resembles the blond hair of the Spanish people during colonization.
Wearing this outfit they dance on the streets to the sound of the drum and a flute called “pito”.
“We go out to dance because it is important to heal the soul, the heart and life. We are in a time of pandemic, we are aware of that. I think the most important thing is that we go out with faith and devotion so that our saints and mainly God are going to save us,” Guadalupe Rubisel Gomez, patron of the Parachicos since 1999, told EFE.
Gomez said this dance has been taking place for more than three hundred years in honor of the Lord of Esquipulas (an image of Jesus Crucified) and of two saints of Catholicism: Saint Anthony Abad and Saint Sebastian Martyr.
Gomez added that after a year of pandemic it was necessary to prepare to dance and fulfill, as hundreds of Parachicos arriving from all the states of the country to meet the Lord of Esquipulas prepared to dance, after they were unable to do so in 2021.
Last year, they only danced in the courtyards of the chapels and churches to respect the rules, since acts where many people crowd are not allowed.
Mauricio de la Cruz, said this is a deep-rooted tradition of the village of Chiapa de Corzo. “As a child I have been going out and this dance is deeply rooted for very personal reasons and it is very intimate, but faith in the all-powerful is the best medicine,” he shared.
In this tradition of the Parachicos, which began in 1711, it is estimated that around 6,000 people participate, but due to the pandemic the number was considerably reduced this year.
Parachicos are led by a patron wearing a mask with a severe expression, a guitar and a whip to symbolically punish sin and disobedience, while playing the flute, followed by stewards and authorities shout acclamation, while young people and children imitate the movements of the adults.
The dance of the Parachicos is the transmission of inherited ancestral knowledge. It was declared an Intangible Cultural Heritage by Unesco in 2010. EFE