Stumbling into festivities – Chiapas.

Some of the best things happen when you just stumble into them -which is exactly what happened in Chiapas de Corzo.

Have you ever heard of the Fiesta de Enero en Chiapas de Corzo? Yeh I hadn’t either, and neither had my friends from Monterrey, Mexico. But there we were, in the middle of it.

For the first time in Mexico, Mel and I were travelling without our local friends to guide us around town. So we were going on a whim. In a hostel in Tuxtla, the capital of the state of Chiapas, we hear about an ongoing festival an hour away, in San Cristobal de las Casas. We change our reservations and off we go.

Let me first give you a visual snippet of what we saw:

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Confused? Maybe fascinated? Yeh, me too.

It was beautiful to watch, but for the first hour I really had no idea what was going on. (Welcome to the life of a traveller.) Eventually we decided to speak to one of the guys, dressed in female attire and discovered he was called a Parachico. These beautiful humans dance in honour of the local saints throughout January. On the particular date we were there, the 21st of January, Los Parachicos were dancing for the son of Doña María de Angulo, a rich, beautiful and Catholic Spanish woman. Doña Maria came to the town in the 18th century in search of an indigenous witch doctor. Her son’s strange illness was cured with the waters of Cumbujuyú. However, a while later the town suffered a plague that destroyed their corn, beans, fruit and vegetables. Doña Maria returned to help the townspeople, carrying the necessary food. In the course of their recovery, the servants began dancing to bring happiness to the children and to honour the son of Doña Maria. Hence the name Parachicos -for the children. Like most Mexican celebrations this was a hybrid between Catholic and Indigenous traditions and continues today.

Mel and I, also joined in, not knowing what was going on, but feeling the happy vibe. In a unexpected way this connected us with the custom of the past, as while we felt the happiness, it was sure the children suffering in the 18th century were also were uplifted.

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