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The Dance of Papantla Flyers is a ritual dance Totonaca related to fertility. It is run by four flyers and a musician named “foreman”.

Origin and Legend

There is no exact knowledge of the origins of this ceremony, but it is known that seeing the costumes used by the Totonac Indians and made ​​from real feathers of birds such as macaws, eagles, owls, crows, etc.., Spanish conquistadors considered this dance as a game.

Legend has it that many years ago, a severe drought caused considerable havoc among the peoples of the region Totonacapan (which today includes the boundaries of the states of Puebla and Veracruz in Mexico). To remedy this calamity, a group of old sages instructed a young chaste locate and cut the tallest tree, sturdy and straight from the mountain with the purpose of requesting the indulgence of the gods to grant them rain.

The ceremony was held in the upper of the stick body, so that the fervent prayers are heard by the gods. After the successful outcome, the conclusion was hailed as a tribute that should be done regularly, becoming a permanent practice.

Today, dates vary by region. For example. It takes place in indigenous communities during supervisory festivals, cultural events such as the Cumbre Tajin, as well as entertainment for tourists on the path to the Mayan Ruins of Tulum.


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In 2009, The “Ritual Ceremony of the Flyers” has been recognized and registered by UNESCO to its list of “intangible heritage of humanity”.

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