Saturday, March 20, 2010

The Papantla Flyers

We stumbled upon these guys on the Malecon in P.V. We had no clue who they were and had to wait til we got back home and had Internet access to find out. I refer you to another website that tells the whole story. In a nutshell, it was a religious rite performed to deliver a message to the god of fertility. Later, it was camouflaged as sport so that the Spaniards would not punish the participants or banish the practice.
With each revolution around the pole, the rope would feed out and the upside down twirlers would be lower to the ground by another few feet. The gentleman at the top of the pole would beat his drum and blow his flute as the twirlers descended. Very puzzling if you didn't know the reason. When they reached the beach, they stood around for awhile, I imagine to get rid of any dizziness, then they climbed the pole, retracted their ropes, and did it again. Amazing.

In this picture, the gentleman on the far left has just inverted himself and gotten ready to touch down.

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