A brief discussion of some of our experiences while living and traveling in Michoacán, Mexico.
Thursday, January 27, 2011
THREE STRANGE KINGS
This year we went to Ihuatzio, a small town only a few kilometers from Patzcuaro, on January 6 which is Three Kings day. We arrived in the middle of things so were unable to get a real sense of the events of the day but here are some notes on what we have learned. There appeared to have been a pastorela dance which is common during the Christmas season. Some of the dancers were entering homes which quickly became overcrowded . The centre of attention was on a group of about 7 men who wore unusual outfits: they wore fedora hats (a European style hat) and long summer overcoats (abrigos or gabardinas). I thought these men must be the cargueros of the village or of the dance but I later discovered they represented the Three Kings. Would like to know where this tradition came from. The men were called capoteros (derived from the word for cape). The Kings immediately linked arms and began moving quickly in all four directions, creating the threat of one of them falling over or of members of the crowded being knocked over. Would like to know what this represented. This lasted only a few minutes with great laughter and then they sat down and food was brought to them while a group of female dancers (guarecitas) performed. After 15 minutes the action moved on. At the next stop we were offered a plate of food by one of the Kings. It contained a bowl of fava beans coved with sugar and the whole bowl covered with a very large tortilla. We later learned that the gift was a sweet gift typical of the season. The large tortilla was really a buenjelo (usually a very sweet flat bread which is deep fried rather than quickly cooked on a comal). We were expected to make a taco of the material but few if any people appeared to do this. (Perhaps this was their 4th or 5th offering). We saw two other groups of dancers. First, a rowdy group of feos (usually cross-dressed) and second large group of young boys (perhaps 40) in pink to red smocks with hoods. These boys represented the hermits which again are common to the pastorela dance. More about this event next year.