Sunday, June 16, 2013

Xochimilco and Chinelos

While Edson's parents were visiting we spent an afternoon in Xochimilco, where we rode on a trajinera while eating lunch, listening to the mariachi bands that passed by, and enjoying the sights.

My friend Rabea joined us as well. She commented on how she expected it to be a tourist trap. While you might see some tourists here and there, Xochimilco is usually visited by families or friends who rent a trajinera for a family gathering, to celebrate a birthday, etc. -- it's a floating party!

(For previous posts about Xochimilco, go here or here).









singing along with the mariachis 

As we were leaving we saw chinelos dancing in the street. 


According to Wikipedia

"Chinelos are a kind of traditional costumed dancer which is popular in the Mexican state of Morelos, parts of theState of Mexico and the Federal District of Mexico City, especially the boroughs of Milpa Alta and Xochimilco. The tradition arose from the blending of indigenous and Catholic traditions, most notably Carnival, with its permission to be masked and to mock. Chinelos mock Europeans and European mannerisms from the colonial period up to the end of the 19th century. The Chinelos tradition is strongest in Morelos, especially around Carnival, but Chinelos now appear at other festivities such as Independence Day celebrations, private parties and more.

The word “chinelos” is derived from the Nahuatl word “zineloquie” which means “disguised.”[1] The dance is one of many to develop after the Spanish conquest as native traditions and rites blended into Christian festivals. One of these is Carnival, with its traditions of wearing masks, role reversal, anonymity and behaviors not normally tolerated. This dance developed as a mockery of the Europeans with their fine clothing, beards, fair skin and mannerisms.[2] The modern Chinelos costume began to take shape from between the mid 19th century to the early 20th. The elaborate dress, gloved hands, uptilted beard and arrogant stance also makes fun of the salon dancing of the upper classes during the period of the French intervention as well as Porfirio Díaz’s attempts to “Europeanize” Mexico at the end of the 19th century.[2] The dance developed in the state of Morelos, part of the State of Mexico, part of the Federal District of Mexico City (generally in the south) and even as far as the municipality of Taxco in Guerrero .[3][4] They are the best known Carnival dancers in Mexico with Morelos have the most groups.[1]





Here are two short videos I took of the chinelos:










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