Third Annual



February 2, 2007




Cost: $690 pesos per person

Included: Bus transportation, guided tour and comida

Time: Leave from in front of  Guadalajara Farmacia in Ajijic at 9:00 AM and return around 6:00 PM

Payment: Payment at the time of reservation.  Non refundable after January 26.


This one day tour takes us to Tuxpan, a pre-hispanic Nahualt settlement in southern Jalisco dating back to 627 A.D.  Off the beaten path, the village has maintained many of its rich traditions in food, dance and festivities.  Tuxpan has been rebuilt several times because of numerous earthquakes.  Although their buildings have fallen, their traditions remain intact.  One of these traditions is the February 2nd Fiesta de la Virgin de la Candelaria, also know as Candlemas.


This regional fiesta is famous for two kinds of dances: the Sonajeros (right picture above)  and the Chayacates (left above). 


The oldest and most famous of the two dances is the Sonajeros.  Its origin is pre-hispanic and is known as the dance of the warriors and is danced to the sound of a drum made from the skin of a deer and a flute of Carrizo in honor of Xipetotec, God of War.  Later with the conversion to Catholicism it became a dance to honor all saints.  In the 17th century the cuadruillas (group of dancers) was organized to honor the martyred San Sebastian.  Their costume consists of pants and shirts of white cotton with a red belt, a vest with multicolored laths and a colored handkerchief.  The white cotton pants are lined with black and red satin and are open on the sides in which are hanging tassels of bright colors.  The dancers hold a wooden rattle which is about cm. long.


The second dance is the Los Chayactes.  Around 1774 a plague of smallpox hit Tuxpan and the surrounding area.  The people prayed to St. Sebastian, patron of health, to be delivered from this epidemic.  To be grateful for the miracle of healing the indigenous organized the dance of the Chayacates to honor the martyred saint.  Chayacates comes from the Nahualt Chayácatl and means “man with a mask.”  It is believed that originally the only dancers were children.  Today the dancers are men, women and children.  Their costumes consist of masks made of clay or wood and decorated with deer antlers, long hair made of maguey fibers, boots, old hats and old clothing.  In their left hand they hold a whip and a rattle “cirian” dancing to a tune played on a violin.


We will observe the dancers as they arrive in the courtyard of the church coming from the various barrios of Tuxpan.  When all have arrived each group will dance into the church, pay homage to the Christ child and come out of the church dancing.   Many people take infant dolls of the Christ child to the church to be blessed. It is a mixture of Christian and pre-hispanic rites.


During the Fiesta artisans will have craft items for display and sale.  For comida, we will have Cuachala, a traditional dish made of  corn dough, green and red tomatoes, chili cuachalero and chicken and is served in this area during festivities.


Itinerary subject to change.


For reservations contact:

Isabel Fuente: (376) 766 0822


Jim Lloyd: (376) 766 3070,


Mexico Cultural Journeys

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