Lifestyles

November 3, 2012
 

Our Very Own Matachines

2009-12-31 23.00.00-38

The Texas State Historical Association’s website describes the Matachines as a traditional religious dance and the dancers, musicians, and elders who participate in it. The dance originated as a medieval sword dance called a Morisca. According to the same website, Spaniards brought this dance tradition to the new world where overtime incorporated Mexican, Indian, and American religious and social symbols.

 

In the Rio Grande Valley, the best opportunity of witnessing this ancient dance is during the festivity of Our Lady of Guadalupe celebrated every December 12th, and also during Catholic Christmas celebrations.

Harlingen, Texas is home to a group of ladies who perform the Matachines dance. The leader of the group is Dolores Jaimez who has been keeping this tradition alive since the late 1980s. Matachines are not exclusive to women, for both men and women participate. It is only in this case that it is a group of women, which makes it even more interesting.

 

Dolores and her group perform the Matachines dance in different Catholic churches of Harlingen during the festivities mentioned above. One of the things I admire the most about Dolores and her group is their willingness to volunteer and support local events throughout the year.  This month, they were part of the ceremony for Dia de los Muertos hosted by the Harlingen Arts & Heritage Museum where they delighted the crowd with their ancient ritual dance to the beat of the drum. Young and old marveled as some ladies said “they are older just like me! how fun, I wish I could do that!”

 

“Yes,” said Dolores. “We have women of all ages; we even have a new group of young girls.”

During the event, I asked a couple of members of the Matachines what they enjoyed the most about being part of this group. Claudia said she loved the opportunity of promoting the culture and traditions of Mexico, and Carmen said she enjoyed it because she loves to dance. Both said they practice every week and even three times a week when preparing for the December holidays.

 

Dolores works full time at the housing authority of Harlingen. Her passion is teaching the traditional folkloric dances of Mexico which she then shares with her community through several events. It is not hard to see how much her students admire and respect her.

One of the things spectators admire the most is their costumes. The vibrant colors, the feathers and the images of the Virgin of Guadalupe that embellish them. Dolores and her group have also performed folkloric dances of Mexico for different audiences. Dolores teaches her students at no cost, it is something she loves doing, and it is something that is worth writing about.

Women Matachines

Facebook Comments

comments


About the Author

Tapia - Gonzales
La Vida Valle is where I write about "la vida" living in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas. Life, art and culture, poetry, prayers, travel, and camping! yes, that's my new thing. I blame the heat and high humidity for the madness. Contributions and comments are always welcome .



Visit Art.com
 
 

 
DHS Leadership Academy

New Leadership Academy at Texas Southmost College

What if the Valley had a community college that could design, develop and deliver quality workforce training programs for the private or public sectors in a short amount of time? The types of programs often associated with high...
by Tapia - Gonzales
0

 
 
Adrian Tapia Collage

Finding the Roots of my Passion

Have you ever felt a strong passion for something without understanding why? I am not referring to superficial things but desires such as playing an instrument, painting, writing and even a career path. Times when you’ve said...
by Tapia - Gonzales
 

 
 
Gonzalez elders

Immigrants: A Gonzalez Legacy by Frank Gonzalez Sr.

The year 2018 and very difficult times for immigrant families trying to flee from war-torn and violent environments in order to protect their families from certain harm and even death. It is difficult to understand why there st...
by La Vida Valle
 

 

 
Mission Children

The Tejanos of South Texas

The video at the visitors center at Mission San Jose in San Antonio concluded with an interesting dialogue between a child and her mother. The child states that the indigenous people who lived in the mission have all died, but...
by Tapia - Gonzales
 

 
 
Nana's Taqueria of Weslaco

The Tasty Side of Immigration

We celebrate Hispanic Heritage month from mid-September to mid-October, but let us think of those who came to the United States from Mexico in search of a better life and by doing so improved our own lives. The list I have comp...
by Tapia - Gonzales
 

 




Visit Art.com