The Xcaret Masquerade: A tribute to the traditional masks of Mexico

February 02, 2022

Historical traditions of a great past 

That remains alive at Xcaret México Espectacular with Xcaret Masquerade 

This is the Xcaret Masquerade! I am sure that every Xcaret visitor has returned home remembering the details that made their visit unforgettable. I am sure that Xcaret México Espectacular is among them.

This presentation has recently become the Best Theatrical Production in the World with more than 1 million annual viewers! But how has this been achieved?

This great show has established itself as one of the best in Mexico and a great effort to bring together the best of Mexico on to a single stage.

Thanks to an incredible team, fantastic dances have been performed as La Danza de los Viejitos from Michoacán, Flor de Piña from Oaxaca, La Bruja from Veracruz and recently the Xcaret Masquerade, which we will learn more about on this blog.

First of all, I want to remind you that Xcaret researched of the traditions, customs, and songs that are presented in this show, thus creating a worthy interpretation to honor them.

The Xcaret Masquerade

Mexico and its masks

Have you ever wondered why many traditional dances in Mexico use masks?

The history of these pieces can go back thousands of years, with the mortuary masks that many cultures in Mexico made to bury their rulers, such as Pakal’s. With the arrival of the Spaniards, new religious dogmas were added to the symbolism of the masks.

For example, behind a mask of some saint or devil from the vast European Catholic religion, the Mexican indigenous shaped their vision of the world and granted it more unique characteristics that identified them as part of their culture.

This way, the mask fulfilled a double function: to be the object for the artistic representation of a particular vision of a new world and also to be the object in which reality was hidden, creating a syncretism that exists and endures even on our days.

That is why many details of other cultures remain within a large number of Mexican dances, traditions, and customs.

The Xcaret Masquerade

Now that you know more about the meaning of masks in Mexican culture. It is time to learn about the great moment that you are about to witness on your next visit to Xcaret: The Masquerade!

This representation brings a colorful display with various artists to the Gran Tlachco stage, in which the music, the costumes, and the characters will captivate you.

If you pay attention, you will distinguish some representative masks of different traditional dances of Mexico such as the Chinelos, the Tecuanes, and the Kúrpites.

But in order to get to know them a little better, let’s review each one of them.

The Kurpites of Nuevo San Juan de Parangaricutiro, Michoacán

The history of the Kurpites comes from the birth of a volcano in Mexico. When the Paricutín Volcano emerged in 1943, it buried the towns of San Juan de Parangaricutiro and Paricutín. This is where the Municipality of Nuevo San Juan Parangaricutiro was born.

Inhabitants of the San Mateo and San Miguel neighborhoods celebrate a competition where two bands fight for the title of the best dancers during the first days of January. It’s known as The Dance Competition of the Karaites.

These bands are divided into the handsome Kurpites (single men) and the ugly Kurpites (married men). This celebration lasts four days, until the victory of one of the two sides.

The origin of this dance is Purépecha and dates back to the 16th century. The word Kúrpite means those who gather.

Dance of the Tecuanes of Acatlán de Osorio

This colorful dance is originally from Acatlán de Osorio, one of the largest cities in the Mixteca region of Puebla. It is also known as La Perla de la Mixteca.

The Dance of the Tecuanes has its origin in an ancient story about two tribes whose chiefs were named Lucas and Moranchi. Both tribes farmed the land, but suddenly they realized that their cattle began to suffer damage, for which they both thought that the opposite tribe was responsible.

This is when the main character of the Dance of the Tecuanes appears: The Jaguar! Tetuan or Tecuani can be translated from Nahuatl as “Devourer of men'. When the tribes discover that a jaguar is responsible for the disappearance of the cattle, they set out to hunt it.

Like other dances and shows at Xcaret, La Danza de Los Tecuanes is an Intangible Cultural Heritage, so having it as part of Xcaret México Espectacular is a wonderful way to honor its history and importance.


The Chinelos of the state of Morelos

The history of this dance dates back to the 1800s. The dance was originated during the grudges that the indigenous and Spanish had for the exclusion of the indigenous tribes in the carnival celebrations.

In response to this situation, the young indigenous people began to wear old colored clothes as well as covering their faces. All this was a mockery of the carnival festivities organized by the Spanish.

At the beginning of this tradition, the Chinelo was known as Huehuetzin, which in the Nahuatl language means: “person who wears old clothes.' The Huehuetzin eventually became a Chinelo when young dancers began adding beards to their masks to represent the Spanish.

Now that you know some of the characters that you will see during the Xcaret Masquerade, we hope you enjoy Xcaret México Espectacular even more.

I assure you that now you will pay more attention to each of the details throughout the two hours that our show lasts. Everything you will see represents the most beautiful things of our culture.

The Xcaret Masquerade

If you liked this blog, leave your comments and ideas for other topics that you would like to know about surrounding the culture and history in Mexican paradise.

Apasionado por lo no establecido, viajo y colecciono historia para compartir con quien quiera escucharlas, tomo fotos para recordar que aún no conozco todo el mundo y amo la tecnología porque alguna adicción debía de tener.


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