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Huey Altixcayotl 2015

On September 27, 2015 the pueblo of Atlixco, Puebla celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the indigenous dance festival known as Huey Atlixcayotl. This is the second largest ethnic dance festival after the Guelaguetza in Oaxaca, Mexico. This celebration was initiated by an American ethnologist Raymond Harvey Estage Noel along with a group of representatives from Atlixco. Huey Atlixcayotl translates to “the great Atlixco tradition”.

This festival is always held the last Sunday of September on the Cerro San Miguel, known as the Netotiloya (Cerro Dance). Eleven delegations from the state of Puebla participate in this dance festival that honors Quetzalcoatl. Some of the areas that participate in the fiesta are the pueblos of Acatlán, Huasteca, Cuetzalan, Olinalá, Xitlatacoyan, Teipetzintla, San Jerónimo Xayacatlán, Naupan, San Juan Tianguismanalco, Huauchinango, Santa Inés Ahuatempan, Tehuacan and others. The fiesta also celebrates the feast of the patron saint of Atlixco, Archangel Michael.

On Saturday morning there was a desfile (parade) made up of many the of indigenous dance groups that would be part of the fiesta on Sunday morning. It was made up of fireworks, live bands, dancing and plenty of enthusiasm. The desfile started near the zócalo and ended up at the capilla for Archangel Michael on Cerro San Miguel. The local priest blessed the entire crowd before each dance group went inside the capilla and danced to Archangel Miguel. After each group took its turning dancing the priest blessed all of them again with holy water.

On Saturday evening at eight o’clock a concurso was held to select the Xochicihuatl (pretty flower woman) and the Xochipilme (pretty girl). The event was held on the Plaza de Armas. This isn’t a beauty contest. The participants, who are representatives from their indigenous villages, are judged on their ability to speak about the customs in their village and their clothing. They speak in both their indigenous language and in Spanish. This year there were nine contestants. The contestants ranged from young girls to older women. The authorities from Atlixco were the judges.

Tickets to the event on Sunday are free. About one thousand people attend the fiesta on Cerro San Miguel. People arrive early in the morning to get a good seat close to the stage. The event starts promptly at ten o’clock. The authorities from Atlixco along with the Xochicihuatl and Xochipilme cut a blue ribbon to let the festivities begin. This year was especially special for the people of Atlixco because on September 25th they had been declared a “Pueblo Magico”.

At the end of most of the dances, local products from the dancer’s respective villages were thrown into the audience. The last group to dance were the Chinas and Charros from Atlixco. They were accompanied by giant puppets. Once the hometown group completed their dance, food was thrown from the baskets of the Chinas and the Charros served mezcal to the crowd. It was a fabulous way to end a perfect morning of dancing and tremendous joy!
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Jarabe dancers
Jarabe dancers
El Jaguar y La Muerte
El Jaguar y La Muerte
Danza de Los Huahuas
Danza de Los Huahuas
Group of Dancers from Acatlán Osorio
Group of Dancers from Acatlán Osorio
Padre blessing the dancers
Padre blessing the dancers
Portrait of Negrito Dancer
Portrait of Negrito Dancer
Danza de los Moros inside the capilla
Danza de los Moros inside the capilla
Las Chinas y Los Charros de Atlixco
Las Chinas y Los Charros de Atlixco
El Corporal from Cuetzalan
El Corporal from Cuetzalan
Danza de Jarabe
Danza de Jarabe
Angeles Morales the Xochicihuatl
Angeles Morales the Xochicihuatl
La Danza de Jarabe
La Danza de Jarabe
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