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Tezcatlipoca Voladores (Papantla flyers)

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I was back for the third time to the Richmond Folk Festival 2014 to witness the Tezcatlipoca Voladores (Papantla flyers) and the first thing I noticed was a lone eagle soaring high above the festival.

The Mayan Sun Dance is performed by five men who scale an 80-foot wooden pole. One man dances and plays the flute on top before the other four, sitting on a square platform, suddenly lunge backwards and spiral to the ground with the support of only a single rope affixed to one leg.

Christopher Columbus witnessed the sun dance in present day Southern Mexico during his fourth voyage in 1502 and is the first European to document the dance.

Instead of Columbus Day, some U.S. cities celebrate Indigenous People’s Day.

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The Tezcatlipoca Voladores are from Tajín, Veracruz, Mexico, where this tradition is believed to have originated. They are one of the festival favorites returning to celebrate the Richmond Folk Festival’s 10th anniversary.

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Nikon p300 test photos below.

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Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano

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The pole was still standing on the 14th to be salvaged on following day.

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3 responses

  1. October 13, 2014 at 5:51 am

  2. More info from festival site, and still to busy to post more :

    The dance requires five people – four “flyers” plus a Priest, who represent the rising and setting sun as they ascend and descend the eighty-foot-tall pole central to the ritual, which represents our earthly connection to the divine. Once everyone ascends the pole, the Priest offers the Creator a song, playing a flute to represent lightening while dancing on a drum to signify Mother Earth’s heartbeat. As the Priest plays, the four flyers peacefully descend, making 13 revolutions before landing. This number, 4 x 13 = 52, symbolizes Venus, the morning star, and her influence on the earth.

    October 14, 2014 at 4:17 pm

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