Dance of the Flyers
Walking through Chapultepec Park in Mexico City yesterday, we heard the unmistakable calls of the flute of the Voladores de Papantla (Papantla Flyers) whistling through the trees. Drawn in, we ran quickly to watch the truly spectacular sight of the La Danza de los Voladores (Dance of the Flyers). Now mainly a tourist attraction, this traditional ritual was representative of the four seasons and was first undertaken during a severe drought to ask the gods to send down rain for the crops.
The ritual starts with five men dancing around a thirty meter tall pole to ask permission from the gods to climb it. Once permission is obtained, the five men free-climb the pole with no ropes or supports. When they reach the top one man remains there playing a drum, whilst the other four (representing each of the four seasons) spin around and down attached to ropes they tied to themselves at the top. One of the “flyers” plays the flute as he descends through the air.