While I’m here in Jocotepec making my list of things to bring for our three days in Sahuayo, the folks there are beginning their last week scramble to get things ready for the big day [Monday, 25 July]. When we return from Sahuayo, I will have a lot more pictures, of course, but thought you might enjoy some from last year which were taken on the day before or the morning of the big parade.
You’ve seen some pictures of the huge headdresses, but, you know, somebody has got to construct these things and put all the decorations on them. The frames are used from year to year as long as possible, but the themes and colors of the pieces change each year, so they get stripped down to the bare bones after every fiesta and built up again from scratch.
As we drove around Sahuayo last year, we stopped by a couple of places where folks were putting the finishing touches on their groups’ headdresses.
This young man was wielding a glue gun with amazing dexterity:
A few streets over, we came across a young man named Jesus who was doing the same for the group from his barrio. By the way, Jesus is not a short fellow [I’m gonna guess about six feet tall], so perhaps you can get some idea of how large these headdresses are:
See the cords and tassels on the finished headpiece immediately below?
They’re not just for decoration, although they are certainly decorative. As you can imagine, when somebody plops a headdress this big on your noggin, you need some way of keeping it straight up and down….not wiggling from side to side or back to front. That’s what the cords are for.
And even that takes some getting used to. A few streets over from Jesus’ workshop, we came across this guy taking his headdress out for a spin. Note that he’s brought a “spotter’ along with him:
From the pictures, you might be thinking that most of the participants in the Tlahualiles are young men….and, as far as those who actually dance/march in the procession, you’d be mostly right. The parade route is long and not only are the dancers wearing the headpieces, they’re also wearing color coordinated clothing decorated with silver or gold bells or bars, which make a great noise when the Tlahualiles dance, so you need people with a lot of stamina.
But there are definitely young women who march in the parade, and they, like their male counterparts, don’t just get thrown in when they become teenagers. They start them pretty young here. Here are some of the younger kids getting ready:
Here’s the same boy with his headdress on and pretty much ready to go!
Here you can see the size of this little guy’s headpiece [in the front] compared to those the adults in his group will wear:
And, as I mentioned, it’s not all boys:
This little one is ready to go……..
…….as soon as Dad puts the headdress on her!
So….are you getting excited and/or eating your heart out that you won’t be in Sahuayo with us this year???