The Ritual Ceremony of Voladores

There are several places in Mexico where you can see the traditions of The Flying Man. Known as the ritual ceremony of the Voladores (the flyers); it is considered an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNSECO. What an astounding and historical tradition to witness. Being UNESCO listed is nothing short of an impressive accomplishment!

The Dance of the Flyers is a ritual that is related to fertility, performed by four flyers and a musician, named The Corporal. Legend has it that many years ago, a severe drought wrought considerable havoc among the peoples in the Señorío de Totonacapan Region (which today comprises parts of the states of Puebla and Veracruz). To remedy this trouble, a wise group of elders instructed some of the young men to locate and cut down the tallest, straightest and most robust tree from the mountain, for the purpose of satisfying the Gods, so that they would grant them rain.

The custom of Mesoamerican origin expresses respect for nature and the spiritual universe. During the ceremony, four Voladores de Papantla climb a pole while one more flyer remains sitting in the centre of the pole, while playing flute melodies in honour of the sun, the four winds and the cardinal points. After this act of invocation, the dancers launch themselves from the platform (if you can call it that), to which they are tied by long ropes, imitating the flight of birds, and drop down to the ground.

Check out my video below! We came across the ritual and recorded this video in the main street of Playa del Carmen. We also witnessed the tradition at Xcaret’s Mexico Espectacular. These traditions occur all over Mexico, and are really such an incredible tradition.

Emma Shaw

Emma is a travel photographer and blogger, living in Melbourne, Australia with her husband Thom in between adventures. She started A Make Believe World to share her experiences, travel tips and destination advice, and to inspire others to travel the world and their own backyard whenever they can.

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