Thanks to the Indiegogo campaign many of you helped out with last year to assist enVia, the microfinance group I am volunteering with again this summer, to get a van to offer tours, I got a ride out to Teotitlan del Valle. We went to join the townspeople in their celebration of La Sangre Preciosa de Cristo (The Precious Blood of Christ), a week-long event with parades and fireworks that includes an entire day of performances by young men who commit to dancing from morning until evening outfitted in these incredible feather headdresses.
They are the only all male group that participates in the Guelaguetza, the regional dance showcase coming July 21 and 28. And they are strong; even in Wednesday’s heat, they danced and danced.
I was there with fellow blogger, Jodi (she’s also been a tour guide with enVia for the past year). You can read her reflections here: http://underamexicansky.com/2014/07/09/danza-de-la-pluma/
If anyone mentions that there is a town celebration in Teotitlan del Valle, go. The people are warm and welcoming, opening their homes to visitors to learn about their traditions.
One of the stories I heard while I was watching the festivities is that serving as one of the town’s dancers is a high honor available to young men, ages 20-24. It is such a high honor, in fact, that when one of the men was elected, he returned to Teotitlan del Valle as he was pursuing a university education in the US (and had just completed his freshman year) to serve his three-year term. And, not only did they dance the entire time we were there, but these young people represent the community whenever they are called to do so. It is their community service as well as their art form.