Troupes protect Working day of the Virgin of Guadalupe traditions amid pandemic

Melissa M. Munoz

The costumes worn by dancers who honor the Virgin of Guadalupe fluctuate by group, but all comprise the exact merchandise: a plume headdress, a homemade bow and arrow and a rattle. This 12 months, simply because of the coronavirus pandemic, the teams added a new piece to their outfit: a facial area mask.

Despite COVID-19 limits on religious routines, some Dallas matachines dance groups resolved to prepare for the once-a-year Working day of the Virgin of Guadalupe ceremonies — but with basic safety actions.

Working towards and accomplishing outside, lowering the selection of users and protecting social distance are some of the safety measures these common dance groups are taking.

The Virgin of Guadalupe celebration draws in 1000’s of parishioners to churches these as the Cathedral Shrine of the Virgin of Guadalupe in downtown Dallas.

Rosario Flores, leader of Danza Chichimeca San Miguel de Arcángel, posed for a portrait just after costume rehearsal for Saturday’s Day of the Virgin of Guadalupe ceremonies.(Lynda M. González / Staff Photographer)

It is an important day for the above 400,000 Hispanic Catholics in the Diocese of Dallas. That is why the cathedral is keeping the annual celebration with mariachis and matachines nearly, in an exertion to reduce overcrowding.

Each individual Dec. 12, Catholics celebrate the visual appeal in 1531 of Virgin Mary’s apparition to Juan Diego on the Tepeyac hill in Mexico.

But why do men and women dance to the Virgin of Guadalupe?

Rosario Flores, 42, dancer and supervisor of the team Danza Chichimeca San Miguel de Arcángel, reported the dance is a kind of prayer to the Virgin.

Flores’ mother, who is of Chichimeca origin, instructed her that indigenous men and women danced as a way to convey gratitude for the harvest. But following the French invasion of the 1860s, the intent broadened to contain thanking spiritual icons.

Brothers (from left) Christopher de la Sancha, 7, and Alexander Flores, 15, play the drums with brothers Arnulfo Diaz Jr., 15, and Abraham Diaz, 21, to keep rhythm for Danza Chichimeca San Miguel de Arcángel members.
Brothers (from remaining) Christopher de la Sancha, 7, and Alexander Flores, 15, engage in the drums with brothers Arnulfo Diaz Jr., 15, and Abraham Diaz, 21, to retain rhythm for Danza Chichimeca San Miguel de Arcángel customers.(Lynda M. González / Staff Photographer)

Norma Cantú, professor of humanities at Trinity College in San Antonio, said the dance is a sacred folk custom among the Catholics. Matachines dance teams in other nations this sort of as Colombia, Chile and Peru dance in honor of unique images, she reported.

The matachines from México dance for the Virgin of Guadalupe. Cantú described the Mexican dance tradition as a “syncretism” mixing European and indigenous components.

9 days ahead of Dec. 12, churches and properties across North Texas are crammed with the seem of drums and new music celebrating the novenas, with families inviting dancers in for rosary for the virgin.

Immediately after the rosary, the friends and dancers fellowship with meals and warm beverages.

Despite the pandemic, people throughout the region will participate in the celebration of the Virgin of Guadalupe, which often includes the dance of the matachines as pictured in this file photo.

Nayma Ceceña, 36, chief and dancer of dance group Danza Guadalupana Lagunera, reported that because of the pandemic, as an alternative of shelling out time with the host loved ones, dancers request for their share of food items to go.

“Normally, when we were completed dancing, we’d go in to greet our hosts. This yr we’re keeping our length,” mentioned Ceceña, a native of Durango, Mexico. “We try to care of ourselves and for the persons all over us”.

The associates of Danza Guadalupana Lagunera dress in the regular matachín costume, consisting of a pink shirt and vest. The vest and a extensive waist apron have sequin embroidery in the condition of the Virgin of Guadalupe. Dancers also don a headdress with thick, fluffy feathers in crimson, white and green, the shades of Mexico’s flag.

Colors, inspiration of attire

Danza Chichimeca San Miguel de Arcángel is one of the dancing groups using portion in the digital broadcast from the Dallas cathedral.

Flores reported that the team to begin with had no designs to complete this month but that members then advised her they would exercise outdoors and choose other precautions so they could dance.

The group’s outfit was motivated by the indigenous Chichimecas of Guanajuato, and is very similar to the apparel of Aztec dancers. The costume’s color scheme incorporates much more than the common crimson, eco-friendly and white.

Dancer Arnulfo Diaz (right) prepares for dress rehearsal with other members of Danza Chichimeca San Miguel de Arcángel.
Dancer Arnulfo Diaz (ideal) prepares for gown rehearsal with other customers of Danza Chichimeca San Miguel de Arcángel.(Lynda M. González / Employees Photographer)

The Chichimecan dancers of San Miguel Arcángel have on a fan-shaped headdress with extensive feathers in colours these types of as pink, blue, orange and purple.

1 modify manufactured by Danza Guadalupana Lagunera was to let only spouse and children customers to join the group.

In other decades, the group ordinarily experienced about 30 customers. This yr, it’s built up of just 15.

Onward throughout adversity

Soon after a single member of Danza Guadalupana Lagunera bought COVID-19 and experienced to drop out, Ceceña viewed as canceling this year’s dances so as not to expose other folks to threat. But an aunt persuaded her to have the team acquire precautions and commence with the celebration.

“Faith retained us dancing,” Ceceña explained.

She acknowledged that with dancing commonly lasting 45 minutes with only a couple of short pauses, wearing a mask throughout the regimen is challenging.

“I truly feel like I’m suffocating, but I check out to just take a deep breath to retain dancing,” she claimed.

Danza Chichimeca San Miguel de Arcángel members Paulina Alvarado (left) and her mother, Griselda Silva, laugh at a joke told by Gerardo Martinez after Monday's dress rehearsal.right) following a dress rehearsal.
Danza Chichimeca San Miguel de Arcángel users Paulina Alvarado (still left) and her mother, Griselda Silva, chuckle at a joke told by Gerardo Martinez immediately after Monday’s costume rehearsal.appropriate) following a gown rehearsal.(Lynda M. González / Personnel Photographer)

Less than ordinary conditions, parishioners of all ages can take part in the dance. In Ceceña’s Danza Guadalupana Lagunera, the youngest member is 4 decades previous.

Flores commenced dancing at age 9 in San Luis de la Paz, Guanajuato, right before coming to the U.S. at 24.

Soon after 8 several years without having having aspect in a dance group, she restarted the spouse and children custom by producing Danza Chichimeca de San Miguel Arcángel.

Flores, her 11-12 months-outdated daughter and 14- and 7-year-previous sons take part in the dance.

“I believe I’ll keep dancing as very long as God will allow me to,” Flores reported.

She said most customers are dancing this calendar year as a way to thank the Virgin for getting balanced.

“We’ll also dance for this pandemic to conclusion,” Flores stated.

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