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Virgen de Guadalupe Day 2000

Dance of the Tlacololeros

Grace Relfe

Virgen de Guadalupe Day is celebrated in Mexico on December 12th. Children dress up as the Virgen and Juan Diego and processions are made to area churches. Celebrations are held at area churches and dancers perform.

I saw the dance of the Tlacololeros at the celebration of the Virgen de Guadalupe at the church in the Plaza Kioto in Zihuatanejo on December 12, 2000. This dance is one of the oldest and most unusual from Chiapas, GRO, dating back to pre-Hispanic Mexico.

The dance represents the planting of tlacolotl, a section of land leveled on the hillside and sowed using sticks to makes holes for seeds. Tlaloc is the God of water and rain and crops. The men have ropes with knots, like a whip, to chase away the jaguar, a predatory animal and ancient Olmec diety of the region. The Tlacololeros dance in rows, in step together, cracking the whip and chasing the jaguar. The dance of the Tlacololeros is an ancient and unusual ceremony, one I had heard about but never seen, happening upon it was the experience of a lifetime.

January 2001

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