Parachicos in the traditional January feast of Chiapa de Corzo

Inscribed in 2010 (5.COM) on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity

Country(ies): Mexico



Parachicos in the traditional January feast of Chiapa de Corzo

The traditional Great Feast takes place from 4 to 23 January every year in Chiapa de Corzo, Mexico. This celebration of music, dance, handicrafts, gastronomy, religious ceremonies and feasting takes place in honour of three Catholic saints: Saint Anthony Abbot, Our Lord of Esquipulas and, most importantly, Saint Sebastian. The dances of the Parachicos – the word refers both to the dancers and to the dance – are considered a communal offering to these saints. They start in the morning and conclude at night, as the dancers carry statues of saints throughout the city, visiting places of worship. Each dancer wears a carved wooden mask with headdress, serape, embroidered shawl and multicoloured ribbons, and plays chinchines (maracas). The dancers are led by the severely-masked Patron, who carries a guitar and whip, while playing a flute accompanied by one or two drummers. As they dance, he intones praises to which the Parachicos respond with cheers. The dance is transmitted and learned simultaneous with its performance, with young children taking part, imitating the adult dancers. The technique of mask-making is passed from generation to generation, including cutting of the wood, drying, carving and decorating. The dance of the Parachicos during the Great Feast embraces all spheres of local life, promoting mutual respect among communities, groups and individuals.


Decision 5.COM 6.28

The Committee (…) decides that [this element] satisfies the criteria for inscription on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity, as follows:

  • R.1: The Parachicos celebration includes dance, music, handicrafts, gastronomy and rituals that enhance social solidarity within its community and provided local residents a sense of identity;
  • R.2: Inscription of Parachicos on the Representative List could contribute to the visibility of the intangible cultural heritage, while illustrating how heritage reinforces social cohesion and solidarity among the communities who practice it;
  • R.3: The nomination describes a wide range of safeguarding measures that will be carried out with the commitment and active participation of the State and the community of Chiapa de Corzo, aimed at ensuring the continuity of the tradition among younger generations;
  • R.4: The nomination was elaborated through a process that widely and actively involved the community concerned, and their free, prior and informed consent is demonstrated;
  • R.5: Parachicos were included in 2009 in the Inventory of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Mexico maintained by the National Council for Culture and Arts.



© 2009 Coordinación Ejecutiva para la conmemoración del Bicentenario de la Independencia Nacional y del Centenario de la Revolución Mexicana del Estado de Chiapas

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