The Sayacas will have a small parade today and tomorrow, Sunday and Monday, before Mardi Gras Tuesday, around 10-11 am in Ajijic
The Sayacas appear every Carnival in Ajijic, they are masked characters dressed as women (somewhat exaggerated in their attributes). They appear in Ajijic during the six days of parades that take place on the Sundays before Carnival.
The Zayacas come armed with a bag full of flour, which they throw at the children and people watching the parade. They put on masks and dress in women’s clothes, which they fill with balloons, forming their exaggerated curves.
When the Sayacos appear in the street accompanied by the music band, it is the call to fun, it is the moment in which the children run so as not to be floured, and although it seems that they flee to everything that their legs give them, they are caught and filled with flour.
This tradition as it is celebrated is believed to have been born several decades ago, some say in the 60s, some Sayacos say in the 40s and also its origins go back to a pre-Hispanic legend that was told from generation to generation. The best thing is that the peculiar tradition of the Sayaca persists and since then it has been a tradition that continues to attract more people to dress up and be part of the parade and the fun.
In the beginning, only young people and children participated, but this has changed over time. Now both adults, women, and girls participate, especially on Carnival day, making the fun spread to the whole town.
The day of El Carnaval arrives in Ajijic and becomes one of the most boisterous parties in the region, which includes a great parade full of allegorical floats and Sayacas.
The streets through which the parade passes become a riot of color, music, and sacks and sacks of flour that are thrown all over the streets at the people who witness the parade. The fun explodes at its maximum level, which is reflected in the faces of children, young people, and adults with their smiles and laughter.
Ajijic is a Town with Magic!
They appear in Ajijic during the six-day parades that take place on the Sundays before Carnival.
The Sayacas come armed with a bag full of flour, which they throw to the observers of the parade and the children.
When the Sayacos appear in the street accompanied by the music band, it is the call to fun, it is the moment when children run to avoid being floured, and although they seem to flee at everything their legs give them, they are reached and filled with flour.
This tradition as it is celebrated is believed to have been born several decades ago, some say in the 60s, some Sayacos say in the 40s and its origins also go back to a pre-Hispanic legend. Whatever the truth may be behind these myths, the peculiar tradition of the Sayaca persists and since then it has been a tradition that continues to attract more people to dress up and be part of the parade and the fun.
In the beginning, only young people and children participated, but this has changed over time.
The day of Carnival in Ajijic arrives
The Legend of the Sayacos
The Sayacos are a pre-Hispanic tradition native to Ajijic and there are several versions of the legend about their origins that have been passed down from one generation to another.
One version of this ancient tradition says that the Sayacos and the Sayaca were born before the arrival of the Spanish when Ajijic consisted of three capullis (something similar to towns) consisting of Tomatlán (La Canacinta); Tecoluta (Six corners) and Axixique (Ajijic). The sayacos were twins who were born with a syndrome that made them salivate constantly.
For this reason they were called xayacatl (mask or face that produces water).
The father of the Sayacos was a shaman and a year after his birth he had a daughter named Tzicanzi, which in Nahuatl means “a person who observes nature.” She stood out for her beauty, sweetness, and intelligence.
Tzicanzi’s mother died during childbirth and a year later his father died of grief. Later, the twins and the daughter were raised by nannies from Tomatlán. As they grew older, the Sayacos began to gather wild corn and marigolds which they inserted into hand-painted turkey eggs covered with a bark paper called papaquilisti in Nahuatl, meaning “give the best you have.”
The children grew up until the sayaca (twin) began to chase the children and try to kiss them, but they ran away from her, which made her so angry that she threw ground corn at them and hence the current tradition of throwing flour during carnival was born.
The sayaco (male twin) was more innocent and liked to play with the marigold petals by throwing them at people’s heads, and this later became the confetti that was thrown during carnival.
The sayacos were much loved in the capulli (village) and always led the most important rituals with dances and antics. They placed marigolds with roasted ground corn as an offering to nature, to ward off hail and ask for a good harvest.
After the Spanish Conquest
When the Spanish arrived, Tzicanzi was about 13 or 14 years old and the Sayacos received them at the porcelain stone, located at the western end of the villages, throwing marigold petals on their heads as a blessing. Shortly after the arrival of the Spanish, the Sayacos died out, but the tradition continued.
Tzicanzi remained well-loved for her ability to cure illness, and despite many suitors, she kept her focus on observing and learning from nature. When she grew old and could no longer gather herbs in the mountains, people brought her ingredients to make medicine.
Over time, the tradition of the Sayacos changed and they began to wear Spanish clothing and the masks of the pre-Hispanic gods became the masks of the Spanish gods, which they adopted to make fun of them and their customs. Now, the Sayacas flirted with the men and the Sayaco danced playfully with the women. The Sayacos mocked those in power, including hacendados (Mexicans of Spanish descent) and politicians.
Sayacos to the Present
Over time the Sayacos became part of the San Sebastián festival and a Sayaca was in charge of throwing confetti and wearing the typical clothes of the folkloric ballet. The mask was made of mesquite, copal, or other types of wood. Today there are almost no masks of this type of material and they are made of papier-mâché and plaster. Some people today even wear different types of masks, clothes stuffed with balloons or sponges that make them look very exaggerated curves and don’t wear traditional clothes, but the tradition continues.
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