Hundreds of ‘parachicos’ go out to dance in the streets of Chiapas despite covid

Hundreds of people dressed as parachicos came out this Saturday to the main streets of Chiapa de Corzo -in the southern state of Chiapas, Mexico- in an atmosphere of hope after a complex year due to covid-19 and the road accident in which they died 56 migrants.

the parachicos are traditional dancers of the great festival of Chiapa de Corzo, which takes place from January 4 to 23. Its origins are pre-Hispanic but over time it merged with Catholicism.

The dancers wear a wooden mask and a colorful poncho-style garment called a serape. On their heads they wear a montera, which is a kind of helmet decorated in a way that resembles the blonde hair of the Spaniards in colonial times.

With this outfit they go out through the streets to dance to the sound of the drum and a flute called reed flute or whistle. On their way, they dance through the streets and visit temples and houses.

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“We go out to dance because it is important to heal the soul, the heart and the 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 that faith and devotion so that our saints and mainly God leave us. can save,” Guadalupe Rubisel Gómez, patron of the Parachicos since 1999, told Efe.

Gómez reported that this dance has been performed for more than three hundred years in honor of the Lord of Esquipulas (an image of Jesus Crucified) and of two Catholic saints: San Antonio Abad and San Sebastián Mártir.

He added that after a year of the pandemic it is necessary to prepare to dance and perform, he said minutes before going out to the streets to dance with hundreds of other parachicos who are arriving from all the states of the country to meet again with the Lord of Esquipulas, whom in 2021 they couldn’t dance.

On this occasion, they only danced in the courtyards of the hermitages and churches to respect the rules, since acts where many people gather are not allowed.

Mauricio de la Cruz expressed that this is a deep-rooted tradition of the people of Chiapa de Corzo. “Since I was 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 almighty is the best medicine,” he shared.

While the parachicos troupe advanced through the streets and cheered the saints and the Virgin.

Doña María Guadalupe Martínez, a resident of Chiapa Corzo, told Efe: “It is very important because it is the joy of our people, our traditions, our customs, and I am proud to be from Chiapas.”

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Before getting lost among the dancers and visitors, I send a message of encouragement to all those convalescing for the covid-19 , “may God grant them health, taking care of us, protecting us and that all the people who are sick get stronger and get out of that disease well,” he added.

In this tradition, which began in 1711, it is estimated that around 6,000 people usually participate, but due to the pandemic the number was considerably reduced in 2022.

The parachicos are led by a patron who wears a mask with a severe expression, a guitar and a whip to symbolically punish sin and disobedience, while playing the flute, followed by the mayordomos and authorities who respond with acclamations, as well as the young people. and children imitating the movements of adults.

The dance of the parachicos It is the transmission of inherited ancestral knowledge. It was in 2010 declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

Photo: EFE

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