The Mexican capital hosted a carnival on Saturday (Dec. 4) of indigenous dancers in traditional costumes to mock the excesses by the Spanish invaders during the colonial era.
“We come to participate to have a little bit of joy because it has been a long time we have saved ourselves and it seems that things are already going well,” said Omar Escalona, a participant.
Participants of the carnival, organized by the Ministry of Culture of the capital city, danced their way through the Plaza de Taxcoaque in the center of the capital and marched towards the Zócalo, the main square of the central city.
The dancers of the carnival festivities are traditionally called “chinelos.”
At least 20 groups attended the colorful and noisy procession with revelers dressed in long velvet robes, large palm hats, gloves, and bearded masks that emulate the Spanish rulers of the colony of New Spain, present-day México.
The “chinelos” wear costumes down to their feet. Their masks are topped with tall hats featuring multi-colored adornments and feathers.
“The clothing of the chinelo represents a mockery of what Spanish is. They had to cover their faces so as not to be discovered,” Escalona said.
Iván Reyes, leader of one of the carnival troupe, said the tradition was born in the 19th century in Morelos, neighboring México City.
It is a “tradition that identifies us as Mexicans,” Reyes said.
Reyes affirmed that the objective of the parade is “to celebrate our identity as Mexicans, our traditions, and that we have been able to jump after the pandemic.”
The city government organized the carnival as part of the 2021 commemorations of the 500th anniversary of the fall of Tenochtitlán, the Aztec capital, into the hands of the troops led by Hernán Cortés.
Cortés was a Spanish conquistador whose military expedition led to the fall of the Aztec Empire and brought large portions of what is now mainland México under the rule of the King of Castile in the early 16th century.
The authorities called the anniversary “500 years of indigenous resistance” to emphasize the history of the original inhabitants of México.
Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has unsuccessfully asked the Spanish monarchy to apologize for the invasion.