“I haven’t been everywhere, but it’s on my list.” Susan Sontag
On January 15th I traveled to Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico in the state of Chiapas to visit my friend Kirsty, who is living, studying and working in that fair city, but will be finishing up her time there shortly.
Her vacation, and thus my visit, coincided with the magnificent Fiesta Grande de Enero, which is held annually from the 13th to the 26th of January and serves to remember the local patron saints Our Lord of Esquipulas, Anthony the Great and Saint Sebastian.
One of the more interesting components of the festival is the Parachicos, or dancers shown here, who dress up in 90 degree weather and dance the streets of the city in their garb and shaking their maracas.
The tradition dates back to 1711, when it is thought a wealthy Spanish woman brought her son to the area to be cured. After a miraculous recovery, locals supposedly dressed up in these costumes, thought to resemble Spaniards, in an attempt to amuse the cured boy.
They did this ‘para chico’, which eventually morphed into Parachicos.
The city itself is a lovely old town full of colonial buildings, but one that hasn’t been overrun with tourists. The Spanish came here first in 1528, but soon moved their regional hub of operations into the highlands to San Cristobal de las Casas because of a more favorable climate.
Today, the city is still replete with historic churches, homes and a very interesting and colorful cemetery, which deserves a stroll.