Outfit of the Parachico from Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas
Cultural Group: Mestizo from Chiapas
Donated by Angeles López-Portillo de Stiteler
Maguey ´ixtle´ fiber tied onto a fabric of netted twine.
Embroidered satin chaps with machine embroidered flowers
Saltillo style cotton weave in a variety of colors
Handmade of wood to represent a European
Rattle of sheet tin with decorative ribbons
Every year during the Fiesta Grande de Enero, which takes place from January 8 to 23, the Parachicos of Chiapa de Corzo, Chiapas, dress in bright sarapes and embroidered chaps. They cover their heads with curly domed blonde agave fiber wigs and cover their faces with carved and lacquered wooden masks. With ribbons that sprout from their chinchines, metal rattles, the Parachicos fill the streets with celebration for several days and visit the temples of various saints, mainly San Antonio Abad, Cristo de Esquipulas and San Sebastián, the patron of the event.
The official story behind the celebration is that a kind and cultured woman arrived in Chiapa de Corzo with her sick child to be cured in the town's healing waters. A group of men, dressed in costumes and masks, entertained the boy while he recovered from his illness and in gratitude, the woman fed the starving villagers. An earlier story, dating from the 1590s, says that the Parachicos danced for a little boy who was considered a kind of miracle worthy of a party as he was the son of the pious King Philip II of Spain. This ritual dance with effeminate masks and sharp steps ridiculed the Spanish conquerors.
In 2010, UNESCO designated the Parachicos and the Fiesta Grande de Enero as intangible cultural heritage, sharing traditions and values through each generation.