Although some have pointed out that the photograph could be false, this did not prevent the shocking image from going viral.
Four bodies in free fall, rotating around a trunk, descend from above in an aerial dance, all accompanied by a cloudy sky, which seems to break with the light of lightning when it “impacts” with the sea: this is the photo captured by a tourist on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco.
And it is that in the photo, you can see Voladores de Papantla in descent accompanied by a sky crossed by lightning, the composition elements of this impressive image that have been viralized in networks for a few days.
Behind the people who perform the ritual, you can see the natural phenomenon illuminating the gray sky, so it gives the feeling that the lightning was a foot away from falling on them, it should be remembered that lightning is a powerful natural discharge of static electricity produced by a thunderstorm .
Faced with such a combination of shows that combine part of the legend of the origin of the dance, and the danger of it, Internet users have expressed their astonishment and fear. And it is that the photo, of which the author is unknown, was published by Adexe JR Bautista, who wrote:“The best postcard. The wonders of nature, impressive. The flyers of Papantla… Taken by a tourist”
In response, some proceeded to express their admiration for the image, while others wrote ironic and burlesque comments about the scene:”A few more meters here the lightning and it makes them wireless,” wrote one user.
In addition, although there were many who recognized the risky work of aerial dancers, since many have lost their lives when performing said dance at more than 20 meters high, others mentioned that the image seemed false.“The photograph looks fake; it is necessary to make a long exposure to favorably capture the path of the rays”
The origin of the Papantla Flyers
There is an ancient legend that tells of the probable origin of the Voladores de Papantla, it is said that many years ago, a group of old wise men sent young chaste men to locate and cut down the tallest, strongest and straightest tree on the mountain, to use it in a ritual.
This is due to the fact that a severe drought in the area of the Totonacapan lordship (which today can be identified between the limits of Veracruz and Puebla) caused havoc among the towns of the region, which deeply affected the population.
The chosen tree would be used in a ritual complemented with music and dance, in order to ask the gods for their benevolence so that they would grant them generous rains that would restore fertility to the earth.
Photograph taken of the “Papantla Flyers” in the town of Papantla, Veracruz, in the mid-1930s (Photo: Twitter/RMEX96)
Apparently, the ritual offered to the gods was successful, so as a tribute, the villagers began to perform it periodically.
Currently, in addition to being a traditional legacy of pre-Hispanic cultures, it has also become a tourist spectacle . However, this visually appealing ceremony involves a myriad of risks, since, according to tradition, the participants who climb up and then descend from the chosen trunk are only tied from one foot to the tip of the trunk.
On November 1, 2021, the death of a Papantla flyer was recorded, who fell from a height of approximately 25 meters when he was performing the popular show in commemoration of the Day of the Dead in the municipality of Huaquechula, Puebla.