The Papantla Flyers
(Totonac Indians - Fertility Ceremony)
By Becky Brandborg
the Tulum ruins (rovine) the Papantla Flyers perform
a pre-Hispanic ritual dedicated to their sun god. The Papantla Flyers
climb a 90 foot pole to the eerie and haunting sounds
of a flute and a drum.
Dressed in their magnificent native costumes these men
lash themselves to this towering pole with a leather bindings and soar
off into space backwards and upside down in the ultimate leap of faith.
The Papantla Flyers, are Totonac Indians performing an ancient
fertility ceremony. As they slowly descend to earth, the 13 revolutions
made by the four flyers equal the 52-year span of the Aztec century. The
flyers represent earth, water, fire and air, and the interweaving of these
four elements symbolizes the creation of new life. A
fifth man is left on top, dancing on this tiny nine-inch platform while
simultaneously playing both a pre-Columbian flute and drum.
This is a treat not to be missed. You can also
see the flyers at Xcaret. There are 150,000 pure Totonac Indians
left in Mexico, and a number of troupes of dancers and flyers tour
the country on a regular basis performing their authentic rituals.
performances are often presented as ancient games rather than rituals.
In reality, these dances, like many other pre-Columbian religious rites,
were disguised as simple games by the Totonacs after the Spanish conquest.
This the missionaries from learning that the Indians were still practicing
their pagan ceremonies.
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