The Tradition Of The Chivo Mask

1385 words - 6 pages

The Chivo mask is from Mexico, typically found in the state of Guerrero. The mask was first created and used in the village, Zitlala, after the Mexican Revolution. It is used for the ritual dance called “La Danza de los Chivos” or Dance of the Goats. However, the dance is now used in many other celebrations and festivities throughout other areas of Mexico, as well.
The mask is part of the ceremony known as "the Dance of the Goats” or La Danza de los Chivos. The mask on masksoftheworld.com is from Chilpancingo, State of Guerrero, Mexico. However, the traditional Dance of the Goats began in Zitlala, State of Guerrero, Mexico. The villagers created the dance after the Mexican Revolution in 1910. After the war, an epidemic took place that eliminated almost all livestock in the area. Even with the epidemic, the people were able to complete the construction of their primary church, but afterwards were left with nothing. They decided to approach the patron saint of the village, St. Nicholas to express their concerns and worries. Once they were before him, they dressed and danced as goats. Afterwards, the villagers believed that Saint Nicholas had performed a miracle. From then on, they perform the ceremony every year on the day of St. Nicholas on September 10th. The dance represents the tradition of rural life that portrays peasant life and the daily struggle to keep the heritage of peasant families alive. The idea is to capture daily life through art. The purpose of the mask used in this dance is to transform the dancers into the character of a goat.

The tradition still takes place today in many areas of Mexico. However, some parts of Mexico do the dance a little differently. The dance is more common in the central region of Guerrero. In this particular dance, the goat dancers are the primary part of the dance, in other parts of Mexico the goat dancers are just accessories. In the ceremony, the dancers line up in two lines dancing while portraying goats. The dancers wear outfits made of white silk thread with normal tennis shoes and socks. The mask, of course, is the most important aspect of the attire. Mask makers typically decorate the masks with horns, a head-dress, or both. They also usually paint them in bright colors, such as the one found on masksoftheworld.com. In some areas, the masks also have colored ribbon at the tips of the horns and hair made of sisal or raffia thread. The dancers are primarily male, though there are some areas that have female dancers, as well. This is the case in Quechultenango, Guerrero, Mexico. Groups of both male and female dancers complete the dance. In the same area, they dance in normal, everyday attire and only wear masks they decorated to resemble the goat.

Although the dance originated in Zitlala, dancers perform it today in many regions for many different celebrations and festivities. One of these include “Dia de San Juan Bautista” or Day of Saint Juan. In fact, they perform this...

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