Carnaval Time at Lake Chapala-Ajijic

March 30, 2011

Every year around this time of year we enjoy the fun of Carnaval. This year the fun starts Saturday, March 5 and ends with a Mardi Gras type parade on Tuesday, March 8.

Local men show their lack of fear of the bulls (Los Toros) when man faces beast, where they ride bucking bulls and local charros demonstrate their skills at riding and roping all while near ear-splitting banda music sets the temp.

This part of the celebration takes place daily at 4 p.m. at the Lienzo Charro bullring on Calle Revolucion, just one block South from the main drag (Careterra) near the popular Plaza Bugambilias shopping center.

An event called the “Toro de Once” parades begin with the costumed “Los Sayacos” in which men are dressed up as masked dancers with men playing the part of both male and female dancers. To make it even more hilarious the men dancers have traditionally long beards and the ones in female attire wear garish makeup and oversized busts.

This part of the fun starts around 11 a.m. and meanders around the Ajijic Village narrow cobble stoned streets, passing by the Central Plaza before returning to the bullring for the grand finale.

If you stand too close as these costumed guys pass by be on the alert because they sometimes throw handfuls of flour or confetti at the onlookers as they dance along the parade route to the music of the Mexican Hat dance (which originated here in Jalisco).

The custom o f the Sayacos and Sayacas (male and female dancers) predate the invasion of the Spanish Invasion in 1520.

The male dancers sport dark wooden mask with big  eyebrows and beards and a large brimmed hats.

The Sayacas (female dressed men) wear paper mache masks painted with red cheeks, bright red lips, and large expressive eyebrows. They typically wear a bright skirt and blouse combo with colorful wig/hat combos tied to the head with a long bandana.

So, if you plan to be in town around this time of the year this is an event you don’t want to miss. Be sure to have you camera at the ready.

Here’s last year’s parade. Tu amigo, Sid

Email for more information:
Sid@ChapalaClub.com

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