Culture and Thought of Mexico
The Chinelos dance
Although no one knows exactly in what town was this dance began to be performed, it is notable that Chinelos are a symbol of identity in Morelos.
Chinelos are present in many villages in Morelos as Yautepec, Oacalco, Cualtlixco, Atlahuahuacán, Oaxtepec, Jojutla and Totolapan, as well as in certain towns in the state of Puebla, towns ofsouthern Mexico City and places in the State of Mexico, although that is in the village of Tepoztlan, where it’s lived with greater fervor and is more commonly found it. However, it is believed that the most probable fact is that this colorful dance has arisen in the mountain town of Tlayacapan.
There are several versions about its origins, one of them and according to Tlayacapan Culture House, itwas born in 1870 when a group of young people, where so adverse to see themselves excluded from the Carnival celebrations, since they had to respect the lent celebrations, organized one quadrilles, masked themselves with old clothes covering their faces with a handkerchief and began to shout, and jump in the streets, making fun of the Spaniards. This creativeness was too successful that in thefollowing year it was repeated.
Year after year, as it became more popular, the celebration grew and, in order to represent the Spaniards, beards were added to the masks and the name “chinelo” appeared. This comes from the Nahuatl word “tzineloa” and means “hip wiggle." (Sim, 2000)
As we see these versions vary depending on location, the interviewees and, especially, their knowledge about thissubject. In spite of this perform has become a dance in which Morelos society has been identified and it is adopted as a standard to other states from the country and the world.
Subtracting a bit of importance, not merit such a great detail and endless debate of in which town the chinelo was born. We will take as its point of origin Tlayacapan municipality for having more bibliographic material totalk a little about the probable origin of various stories around that fact and the different perceptions that people have for this legendary dance.
As we mention several historical sources said that it was in Tlayacapan where “chinelo” was born and where it spread to all parts of Morelos and other states of México (where it has adopted various versions of the traditional dancingslippers).
This town is named by some as the “birthplace of the costume” and the “Sones of the Chinelo” and taking into account some research done by Andres Alarcón Carmona is said that the word “chinelo”, according with native people of the town of San José de los Laureles, where people still speak Nahuatl, the word is define as follows: Chi-Hop (referring to Chía- seed that bounce and Nelo- Cross)(nelopanole- cross of roads).
It is said that this tradition is the incorporation of musical and body elements used to make fun of what was worn by the Spaniards. The stories said that the reason of the dance was because, days before the religious holiday, forced to burn religious images made of wood to got ash and at the end of the bullfight, a group of people entered into the ring costumedand giving crazy jumps, singing verses, trying to give rhythm, imitating the Spaniards. This attracted many people and asked them who they were and why they did that, but they were jumping unanswered and people began to imitate them.
* THE CHINELOS DANCE
The best opportunity to enjoy the dance is during the celebration of the carnival. Several towns celebrate this tradition one day before...