Performed mainly during the “Great Feast Festivity” is a Central American dance style known as Parachico. This “festive” dance is said to have originated in Mexico in a state known as Chiapas. This dance is performed in honour of three local patron saints, Black Christ of Esquipulas, Saint Anthony Abbot and Saint Sebastian. Furthermore, this dance is also said to have been developed from Spanish culture. In addition, this form of dancing on November 16th 2010 was officially added to the list of “Intangible Cultural Heritage” by UNESCO.
a. History/origin of the Parachico:
According to the cultural history of Mexico, this dance style is supposed to have originated during the 17th century, and is said to be closely linked to a popular legend. According to this folklore, a beautiful woman was looking to cure her young son who had fallen seriously ill. And so she visited many healers and doctors but unfortunately could not find the right remedy for her son’s sickness. It was under such circumstances that she was advised to migrate to the state of Chiapas to find the right solution. So acting on the advice she along with her servants settled in the state of Chiapas. Furthermore, it was here that she proceeded to visit a renowned Indian healer along with her servants. It was on the way to the healer that the servants shouted aloud the chant “Make way I am going to spend my lady Maria De Angulo”. On having a close look at the boy the healer advised the mother to bathe him for nine days using the holy water of “cumbujuyú”. This advice was followed, and as a result the child was cured. In response to this miraculous recovery the mother gave away food and groceries to the local public as a form of charity, and the servants who apparently were dressed up in colourful costumes began dancing out of sheer joy. It is this joyful dance performed by the servants that was then given the name “Parachico”.
b. Costumes used in the Parachicho:
The costumes used in this dance style are extremely colourful and includes dark shirt, trousers, embroidered shawls, striped serapes, colourful ribbons, round headdress, and wooden masks possessing Caucasian features.
c. Music involved in the Parachicho:
The musical instrument mainly used in this dance style, are metallic rattles locally known as “chinchin or chinchines” tied to colourful ribbons. In addition, the performers also use the chant “Make way going to spend my lady Maria De Angulo” while playing the rattles.
d. Training availability and the technique involved in the Parachicho:
In terms of technique, this dance form involves the dancers performing to the beats of metallic rattles. In addition, while dancing the performers also chant along. As for training centers/schools, there are none available around the world since this annual “festive” dance form is mainly performed in Mexico.