September 12, 2017

3148 MEXICO (Yucatán) - The Ribbon Dance in Chichen Itza

3148 The Ribbon Dance in Chichen Itza,
during the celebration of the March equinox

The Ribbon Dance (El Baile de las Cintas) is portrayed in every website, guidebook, or history book about Yucatán; the image of men and women in colorful dress, dancing in a circle around a pole, each participant holding on to a brightly colored ribbon, is iconic. The dance has its roots in Bavaria, where in the 14th century was named Maiphahl (maypole). Danced also in England and the Low Countries, it reached Spain during the reign of Charles V, as the Danza del Cordón (Rope Dance).

The next stop on its migration to Yucatán was the state of Veracruz, moving on to Puebla, Jalisco, and Hidalgo, with each regional group giving the dance its own special touches. It finally arrived in Yucatán with the Austro-Hungarian immigrants who came here during the rule of Maximilian. The dance is a traditional part of a vaquería (from the word vaca, or cow, and vaquero, or cowboy; it is a festival which used to be held on the cattle ranches to honor the vaqueros of the region).

It begins with the search and preparation of a tree trunk, ceiba if possible, or other pole suitable for the maypole, of 5 to 6 meters in height. It is placed in the desired position and ribbons are tied to the top of the pole. Ten or more dancers, alternating men and women, dance toward the pole, and then each holds on to the end of a ribbon, forming a circle around the pole's base.

In Yucatán a jarana is played, in ¾ time, and the dancers weave around the pole and around each other in a complex series of steps which seem totally random but which are not; the end result is a beautifully woven braid around the pole, from top to bottom. Then, they repeat the steps in reverse, and unbraid the ribbons; all of this is done in time to the music. Finally they leave the pole and dance their way to the place where the vaquería will take place.

About the stamps
The first stamp is one of the two of the series World Intellectual Property Day - Innovation, Improving Lives, designed by Sergio Barranca Rábago, and issued on April 26, 2017.

The second stamp, designed by Ricardo Venegas Gómez, was issued on April 26, 2017 to mark the Mexico Aerospace Fair.

El Baile de las Cintas (The Ribbon Dance) - Yucatán Today

Sender: G. Alonso Jimènez (postcrossing lottery)
Sent from San Miguel el Alto (Jalisco / Mexico), on 01.06.2017
Photo: Luiz Gomez C. 

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