2 February 2012:
You didn’t really think I was gonna go for seven days without including some sort of parade, did you?? Well, today was the day! I’m sending you a few pictures and a few words, but for a much more comprehensive look at the parade, check out Jim Cook’s blog: http://cookjmex.blogspot.mx/search/label/Tuxpan.
This morning, my friend Pam and I headed south to the pueblo of Tuxpan. Tuxpan, like Joco, is in Jalisco state, but just barely. It’s very close to the borders of both Colima and Michoacan states. If one takes the toll road most of the way, it’s about a one and a half or two hour drive from Joco. If one takes the free road [and gets "turned around" a couple of times like Pam and I did], it takes closer to three hours. But it’s a much more scenic drive on the free road.
See Tuxpan down there in the center of the map? I hadn’t been to the parade for three years and was anxious to go again and share it with Pam, who hadn’t seen it before. So off we went.
February 2nd is the culmination of the Tuxpan patronales fiesta. The fiesta that celebrates Tuxpan’s patron saint, St. Sebastian. And it’s well worth seeing for the three types of marchers that are involved in the parade on that day. As in all Mexican religious parades there are groups of people who participate for strictly religious purposes, i.e. to honor St. Sebastian.
In Tuxpan there are two others groups, Los Chayacates (the horned dancers) and Los Sonajeros (the rattle dancers). Outside of Tuxpan, the Sonajeros are probably the best known of the two since they often participate in fiesta parades in other pueblos, including those here in Joco. The photo at the top of this post is of the Sonajero statue that greets you as you enter Tuxpan.
Los Sonajeros are known primarily for their ribboned vests and rattles. Participants range in age from young children to old folks, but they are all decked out in the ribbon vests and carry the rather large rattles with them.
The rattles rather resemble piano legs with slots cut out for the round pieces of metal that, when shaken, sound rather like a tambourine. And shake them they do as they march, as well as tapping them on the ground to get those metal disks jingling. Oh, and see the knitted bag near the center of the photo? That’s filled with candy that gets tossed to the crowd. Primarily to youngsters and old folks apparently, because I came away with several pieces that were either thrown to me or handed personally to me.
But as much as I love the rattles, I absolutely covet the ribbon vests. They are absolutely beautiful.
The other group of marchers, Los Chayacates, are startling in appearance to say the least. They wear masks on their faces, horns on their heads, and long, streaming fake “hair.” They kind of look like some whacked out band from the ’60s like Parliament Funkadelic, whom I’m totally sure borrowed this look from them.