Zoque Carnival features traditional rituals through the streets of Tuxtla Gutiérrez, Chiapas


The stewardship of the virgins of Copoya will perform on February 28, 29, and March 1 in Tuxtla Gutiérrez the ” Zoque Carnival “, a series of ceremonial rituals in four points of the capital of Chiapas, the only thing that is danced in the carnival is the macaw feather dance with three main characters, the Te’hatajama etzé, the Napapok-etzé, and the Suyuetzé or Viejas de Carnaval.

Dancer of the feather or Napapok-etzé is one of the two main characters of the dance, it is a man dressed as a warrior, with a quiver or arrow holder, carrying a plume of macaw and peacock feathers.

According to Mayan iconography, the macaw is related to the sun, in his right hand he carries a cross that appears to be an ax according to images related to pre-Hispanic codices, and in his left hand, he carries his twin or double reed with which he marks the changes of the music.

The dancer’s clothing is red and is the solar color par excellence, he also wears a cotopayú, a ceremonial garment that distinguishes the Zoque authorities.

Dance the nine sounds that make up the dance in front of the Alacandú or Carnival queen, a character associated with the moon; Both characters perform the ritual of balancing the stars in the dance in the center of a circle made up of the old women or suyuetzé.

The most important day of this dance is Shrove Tuesday or the day before Ash Wednesday. The character of the napapoketzé may be related to several pre- Hispanic myths that allude to or refer to the creation of the sun and the moon, such as the Teotihuacan myth of Nanahuatzín or the Mexica myth of the battle between the sun and the moon or between Huitzilopochtli and Huitzilopochtli. Coyolxauhqui.

While the old women of carnival or suyuetzé or men with women’s clothing are secondary characters of the dance, who dress in the style of the old Zoque women of Tuxtla Gutiérrez with naguilla, huipil, shawl on the head fastened with a bandana.

In their right hand, they carry a cane or doodle that alludes to the old women, synonymous with wisdom, during the dance they dance in a circle, counterclockwise, always very happy and making jokes to the spectators, some of them of a sexual.

They also tend to stain people with talc or cornstarch, from the ritual level, the old women of the carnival when dancing in a circle are the ones who protect the central characters, the sun and the moon, so that the balance of the dance is achieved.

The only thing that is danced is the carnival dance or the macaw feather dance with three main characters, the Te’hatajama etzé, the Napapok-etzé and the Suyuetzé or Viejas de Carnaval / Photo: Isaí López | The Herald of Chiapas

They are the hubbub, the relaxation, and the distraction of the dance. His steps are short and elongated according to the rhythm of the son that is executed, in some pre-Hispanic myths such as that of Huitzilopochtli, beings that run in front of this God who wants to reach them are mentioned, the suyuetzé could be said beings that in the myth fulfill the role of stars.

The alacandú or warbler dances in a red dress, similar to the old Zoque wedding dress, and offers her the first smell of the sospó flowers, dancing face to face with her 4 – mirrored hat that possibly represents her four phases, and thus a kind of orbit around it, just as it happens between the sun and the moon, so the warbler-moon girl returns the reflection of its light on its journey through the firmament and it is she herself who guides her passage through the underworld.

In one day the stewardesses will leave from one point on the eastern side, another on the west, from the north and from the south, they will visit the house of the Priostesthey will dance to the virgins and the saints, they will receive a small sandwich, water to rehydrate themselves and they will go to another point, they will go by zones, they will have freedom of transit through the streets and avenues.

For the people who are not familiar with the ritual, the party is monotonous, but for those who know the meaning, it is different, it is the dance of the flesh ( carnival ), and when the sky opens it joins the earth and the pleasures of the flesh come, but the Zoque culture It has to do with the question of the petition to mother earth so that we have good harvests.

Always thanking the virgins of the Zoque stewardship of CopoyaCandelaria, del Rosario, and Santa Teresa for everything they have, and that according to the Mayordomos has nothing to do with pagan issues, people have not learned to give to the Carnival party Zoque the true value because it does not know the rituals, the party is customary and rituals, that is the essence, it is beauty.

Source: OEM

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