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Voladores of San Pedro Tarímbaro

Pleca de logos Michoacán

Four bird men dance in free fall representing the cardinal points. They fly across the earthly and the divine, accompanied by a leader, also known as volantín, who with flute and drum sounds the ceremony dedicated to their patron saint Peter the Apostle, while the whole town, with their eyes gazing at the sky, admires the festivity.

It is in the town of Tlalpujahua de Rayón in Michoacán, Pueblo Mágico of eternal Christmas known for its production of Christmas ornaments, where every June 29th they celebrate the flight of its dancers. For that reason they were recognized in 2009 by The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) as Intangible Cultural Heritage.

A ritual ceremony that begins with the selection of the right tree, with a height over 20 meters and great width, which makes its selection harder. When the right tree is found, it is cleaned and transported, with the help of the whole community, to the church of Saint Peter. If it is too difficult to move it, the locals celebrate a mass around the leafless tree to be able to take it to its destination at the top of the hill where the church is located.

The day of the celebration, bold men dressed in representative costumes in honor of Saint Peter, red and white clothing with red scarfs around their waist and tricolor hats, conquer the top of the flying pole in order to thank the sun for the goods and gifts received, the rain, the family, and the good harvests.

Los Voladores de San Pedro Tarímbaro

The Voladores drop their bodies, held by a rope around their waist, allowing gravity to pull them back down to the earth, to their roots, with their hands stretched to collect blessings. The four men make about 40 turns with the dance lasting no more than 5 minutes. 

A pre-Hispanic tradition known since 1603, merging the religious syncretism of eastern Michoacán with the Mazahua cosmovision, which is carried in the blood, and aims to be passed from generation to generation, reason why the town created a board with the community to revive the dance and integrate the little ones, who from the age of 6 are prepared using a small stick.

The Voladores of San Pedro Tarímbaro are brave men who fly across the winds of the past, present and future. Men that do not let the traditions that connect us to our history die and remind us why Michoacan is #ElAlmaDeMéxico.