|All traditional fiestas include folk dancing whose
forms date back hundreds of years to the conquest and beyond. Some of these dances are
rooted in traditions brought from Spain (which include Moorish and Iberian influences)
others are rooted in Mayan tradition, still others have African roots. Dances you might
"Botargel" (Variation of "Moros y Cristianos")
"De Animalitos: El Tauro" (Animals, The Bull)
"De Cortez" (About Cortez)
"De Disfraces" or "De Gracejos" or "Los Enmascarados" or
"Los Feos" (Costumes, Masquerade or Masks)
"De Toritos" (The Little Bulls)
"El Aba-i" (Garífuna)
"El Africano" (The African)
"El Aru Majani" (Garífuna)
"El Chico Mudo" (The Mute Boy)
"El Chip Chip" (Garífuna)
"El Convite" or "Convites"
"El Gunjae" (Garífuna)
"El Jungujugu" (Garífuna) This dance accompanied by drums and cymbals
is rooted in Haitian Voodoo which the Garífuna call Chugú.
"El Mahani" (Garífuna)
"El Negro" or "Los Negritos" (The Blacks)
"El Palo Volador" (The Flying Pole)
"El Rey Fernando" (King Fernando)
"El Sambai" (Garífuna)
"El Venado" (The Deer)
"El Yancunú" (Garífuna) Is a dance about war with men wearing masks
of womens faces. This dance commemorates a battle which took place on Roatán during
the 17th century.
"Fierabrás" (Variation of "Moros y Cristianos")
"Gigantes" (The Giants) This dance honors the major Mayan deities.
"La Conquista" (The Conquest) Commemorates the conquest of the Indians
by the Spanish and recalls the horrors perpetrated on them by Pedro de Alvarado. Other
characters include the Quiché King Tecún Umán and his sons and daughters.
"La Invasión Extranjera" (The Foreign Invasion)
"La Malincia" or "La Malinche"
"La Paach" This dance is dedicated to the rituals of the "cult of
maize" and is a harvest dance. Among other things, it illustrates the belief that
finding double or triple ears of corn is a sign of good luck, like a 4-leaf clover.
"La Punta" (Garífuna) This dance invented by the Garífuna is by far
the most popular and is danced at festivals and in discos throughout the western
Caribbean. Punta is a strenuous dance performed on the balls of the feet but with practice
it can be danced for hours.
"La Región de los 24 Diablos" (The Land of the 24 Devils)
"La Serpiente" or "La Sierpe" or "La Culebra" (The Snake)
"La Shumba" (Garífuna)
"La Vaca Mora" (a variation of "De Toritos")
"Las Siete Virtudes" (The Seven Virtues)
"Los 12 Pares de Francia" (The twelve couples from France) This dance
is a major production lasting up to 5 hours. The major characters are Charlemagne and a
Moorish King. The production is very dramatic with battles, deaths and imprisonments.
"Los Abuelos" (The Grandparents)
"Los Animalitos" (The Little Animals)
"Los Cuatro Toros" (The Four Bulls)
"Los Diablos" (The Devils)
"Los Moros y La Conquista" (The Moors and the conquest)
"Los Judios" (The Jews)
"Los Mexicanos" (The Mexicans) Dance based on "De Toritos"
covering the Mexican influence in Guatemala.
"Los Tres Venados" (The Three Deer)
"Los Tucunes" (a variation of "Los Venados")
"Los Venados" (The Deer)
"Las Flores" (The Flowers)
"Maipoll" (Garífuna Maypole Dance, no longer performed)
"Moros y Cristianos" One of the most common traditional dances,
performed in several forms and under several names. It commemorates the triumph of the
Castillians over the Moors in 1462 when they finally expelled the Arabs from Iberia. This
dance has special significance for the Indians because they would like to have done the
same to the Spanish invaders of Central America and imagine the dance as if it were called
"The Spaniards and the Indians".
"Paach" Is a dance about corn (maize)
"Pororó" (Garífuna dance no longer performed)
"Rey David" (King David)
"Tope de Mayo" (Indian Maypole Dance),
Surely, the most spectacular of the dances is the Palo Volador in which men (usually
fortified by plenty of alcohol) climb a 100 foot wooden pole, tie themselves to a rope
attached to the top and wrapped around their body; Then they jump, spinning to the
ground...sometimes to their death.