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The flyers dancers in the High.

The fly dancers are breathing deeply, souls and body connection to be ready, they want to reach the sky, have been in divine communication with the gods, the rhythm tambourine is marking their footwork through wind harmony that resonates with the reed flute. Over the tiny centre of the wooden stick, the captain presides the ritual, he dances tapping on stick base, that represents the mother earth, while the rest of the members are sitting on the edge, saying payers to the four cardinal points gods, then, they start the descent into the void, flying vertiginously around the stick “the tree of life” from more than more twenty meters’ high, the dancers fly given tribute to the rain and sun. It is the ritual to the equinox.



The flying men are part of rite ancestral of the Totonac-Maseual/Nahuatl region, located in the northern highlands between the states of Puebla, Veracruz and part of Hidalgo. This ceremony is related to equinox and solstice rituals from the cosmogony myths of pre-Columbian cultures in Mexico.


In this rite, the flight is just the culmination of the physical and spiritual preparation process, the first part starts choosing the tree, that will be “the tree of live” symbol, which they smoked with incense or copal, moreover, they prayers to ask permission and forgiveness to nature mother for cutting the tree. The next rite is through the placement ceremony tree, where they use cinnamon, flowers, candles and liquor are as thanks were given, and the last rite is before climbing the stick, where the five members dance around it, and then, the ceremony in the heights began. This ritual is deeply rooted in the identity and tradition of the region, as an inheritance of the Totonac and Maseual cosmogonic vision. The custom flyers have a clear influence of miscegenation during the colony, the main colors are bright red and white, decorated with yellow and blue ribbons, and overhead, they use a plume that symbolizes the Quetzal, a majestic bird typical of the area.


UNESCO was named The Flyers Dance as a humanity intangible patrimony. To enjoy it, I recommend visiting the region at Papantla and Tajin archaeological zone located in the state of Veracruz, and at the northern mountain range of Puebla where the Cuetzalan and Yohualichan zone is located.


Due to that Cuetzalan is a city that maintains the tradition of the Flyers Dance "Danza de Los Voladores", permanently have at the main square in the downtown, the characteristic flyers tree, this dance is part of all the local festivities, and also is a show usually performed on weekends, as part of the city's tourist attractions.




The municipality of Cuetzalan del Progreso is settled in the mountains of the Sierra Madre Oriental, bathed by the humidity of the Gulf of Mexico, getting to the zone an evergreen and abundant vegetation. The sinuous orography has some karstic formations that offer caverns, grottos and incredible springs natural pools and beautiful waterfalls. If hiking and adventure sports are your passion, you will love this region. Cloudy forests that surround the city and the road, shows a unique view where you can observe the change of scenery: valleys, coniferous forest and jungle tropical forests. If you like the pre-Hispanic culture, you can't miss the archaeological zone of Yohualichan "House of the Night" whose architecture is characterized by niches or windows.


At the municipal seat, you can be walking on the labyrinth streets, which are marked cobblestone slopes, and appreciates the colonial-style architectural landscape is blending with the humidity and vegetation that surround it.


On weekends delight in of a street market th e "tianguis", where you can still see the barter of merchandise, in addition to handicrafts, they offer products from the region, fruits, coffee and cinnamon, in the midst of others.


You will also be able to see the native people whose clothing dates back hundreds of years, the men wear white pants and shirts, “huaraches” and a hat, while the women wear voluminous skirts and blouses with colorful embroidery, and a "tlacoyal" that It is a turban or headdress made of wool.




The typical gastronomy of the place is made with corn, hot sauces, mushrooms and meat, the most owing is the "tlayoyo" a corn pancake stuffed with carob beans, served with sauce and cheese. You can also eat "longaniza¨ that is spicy pork meet, and river prawns (only in closed season) you must taste the traditional pot coffee, seasoned with cloves, cinnamon and sugar, the beverage "Xoco Atol" made with corn and cocoa, and, if you like drinks, try Yolixpa "the pre-Hispanic drink that soothes the heart and body" based on distillate alcohol sugar cane, in which herbs such as thyme, mint, mint, rue, lemon balm and thyme are macerated. Do not forget to try the artisan desserts based on apple, pear and "tejocote".


Unmissable: Main Church “Iglesia de Los Jarritos, "dog's paw" pool, "La epoch of Gold" coffee bar, the “Los Jarritos” bar, the "Corazón del Bosque" waterfall, and the Yohualichan site. Other places of interest close by, at the same road route, are Zacapoaxtla, Jonotla and Tlatlauquitepec.


Travel Tips: Bring comfortable shoes, a raincoat, mosquito repellent and sunscreen; prepare for the curves of the road and three hours of travel from Puebla city. Book in advance where to stay, the hotel offer is local and managed by local people; You can find cabins, hostels and boutique hotels, find out about excursions to natural attractions.


At this picturesque town and zone, you can enjoy its culture, gastronomy, festivities and folklore. Be ready to live an extraordinary sensory experience, surrounded by the magic of this remote Eden.


by Beatriz Rosalba Cota Fernández

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