Saturday, March 08, 2014

Concheros in Pre-Hispanic Costumes Honoring The Lord of the Conquest

 For the next two weeks, we will be experiencing the exuberance and beauty of the concheros dancing around the jardin in their fabulous finery.  They are dancing to venerate the statue of The Lord of the Conquest.  This statue which reposes in Atotonilco most of the year is brought to San Miguel for Lenten activities each year.  Brought on foot during the night by those who are honored to be chosen to do so in a procession.  Atotonilco is about thirteen miles away so the procession arrives here at dawn and goes to the church San Juan de Dios.  Unfortunately, I've never seen the dawn procession.
 Concheros are those who wear dried shells and pods around their ankles when they dance.  There were hundreds yesterday.  Handmade, beautiful costumes in every color of the spectrum.  Dancing from 10 AM until after dark.  Their sturdiness and persistence is amazing.  Little children and teenagers dance as well.  A wonderful way to continue the traditions that have been around since the 1500's according to historians in this area.
According to legend, The Lord of the Conquest statue is made of orchid and corn paste.  It was made by Tarascan Indians in the area of Patzcuaro and brought to the priests in San Miguel and another is in San Felipe.  The statue is credited with saving lives during the plague in the 1700s.  To say that it is highly venerated would be an understatement.
 This group of indigenous peoples are recreating a ceremony where they outmaneuvered the Spanish.  If my memory is correct, it was in the region of the State of Veracruz.
This little girl proudly wore her dancing costume.  She was much photographed and could hardly take a step without someone else wanting her photo. 

I must confess my photos on this post are untouched.  I, for some reason, cannot post directly from Picasa to Blogspot anymore and so I'm using those from my Pictures file that haven't had the contrast corrected or anything.  Time to get the computer guru over here. 

And, the final statement is, "I sure wish I knew where they find those amazingly beautiful feathers."  They are exquisite.

Stay tuned - next week Concheros from Zacatecas, Lagos de Moreno, Silao and Guanajuato will be here dancing on Thursday and Friday.  Their costumes will be different and magnificent.  I hope to be there to see them.  Inbetween all this, there is a Cuban Musical Festival going on with free concerts in the jardin almost every night.

NEVER a dull moment in San Miguel!


Peter Kouwenhoven said...

Gotta love all that tradition and culture. Looking forward to visiting there.

Steve Cotton said...

I enjoyed my shooting opportunities when I was there in September. Unfortunately, the best shots were in the jardin in the evening. And it is a terrible place for photography.

Babs said...

Peter, indeed I and everyone else who watches or participates loves these dances. Even the pounding drums that go on for the whole time. I can even hear them up here, although muted. Hope you get down to visit as well.

Babs said...

Steve, I seldom photograph in the evening after the street lights come on. At sunset, when that golden light is here, to me, is magnificent.
I think with the right settings its ok, but you're talking to an amateur
photographer. There is a man here, Richard Quick who is a professional photographer both here and in Eureka Springs, Ark. His night shots are exquisite.Next time you come to visit, if he and his wife are here, I'll set up for you to meet them. She too is a great photographer......I know Billie mentioned on her photo today how difficult it is. Until then I had no idea that it was a problem.

Anonymous said...

Wow! Those concheros' outfits are much more colorful than they are in DF.


Kim G
Boston, MA
Where there are NEVER any concheros. :-(

Babs said...

Kim, indeed they ARE beautiful. The ones I love the most are the costumes of the peoples of Zacatecas. Their headresses are really something. I think this is my 13th or 14th year of photographing this ceremony. I never tire of it.