Okay. check out the picture. Four Mexican/Indians hanging from a pole, can you guess where I was yesterday? Stop that! I went out to El Rancho de Las Golondrinas, (the living museum), for their Viva Mexico celebration. This was the fourth event and was conducted in cooperation with the Mexican consulate. Latino culture abounded and the history of the northern migration of Mexican people, culture and tradition was celebrated. To top it off, great food and entertainment made for an enjoyable day for family members of all ages. The biggest treat for me, and most others was the appearance of Los Voladores de Papantla, the flying men of Veracruz. A pre-Mexican Indian tradition, you can read more about the tradicion here:
So, six or seven ceremonial dancers/fliers approach the base of the pole and four begin to climb. The spectators below watch and wait with churro-baited breath as the fliers begin their rope preparations, at the top of the pole. Highly colorful ceremonial costumes, a manly test of courage climbing to the top of the pole, a test of courage as the fliers… (This has to be a great way to pick up a date…). But, I’m getting ahead of myself.
Here’s a short clip of the fliers with their rope prepping operations at the top of the pole.
After the four fliers hit the top of the pole…, one more flier begins his ascent to the top of the pole. He’s the ringmaster, the head honcho, the big boss, we’ll just call him Kokopelli, (the flute guy). He has carefully screened his fliers, to make sure they are all mentally and physically prepared for the task ahead and he performs a brief flute/drum show at the top of the pole. (“Dang, Earl! You probably should have laid off of the Carne Seca. You gained so much weight you just about put three of my best fliers in the hospital!) And, in an instant, the fliers are using each other’s counterbalance and weight to spin/fly to the ground. It’s kind of like bungee jumping on Valium. (Kidding).
As with all displays of aerial courage and prowess, the spectators are left with a nobody got injured, “YAY, (darn)” sense of elation, and the pageantry and ceremony are worth going out to see.
Of course, as the sport did originate in Mexico, I can see the spinning as they get closer to the ground as more of a defense mechanism, because pinata celebrations are pretty common in that neck of the woods.
Thanks to the Voladores, the Mexican Consulate, and the folks at Rancho de Las Golondrinas for a great weekend show.