68 F
Monday, January 24, 2022

Good and evil face-off through dance on Christmas Eve

Latest headlines

Untrained tour guides compete for tourist dollars in Chichén Itzá

Arguments between tour guides at Chichén Itzá have on rare occasions even resulted in fights and physical violence. Photo: Carlos Rosado...

Joya de Cerén — The Pompeii of the Americas

The volcano which stood less than one mile from Joya de Cerén, sent huge amounts of debris flying through the air. It ultimately buried the village under four to eight meters (13 to 26 feet) of ash and rock. 

A stunning 5,425 new COVID cases in a week

Residents make use of a hand-washing station installed in the Centro. Photo: Artur Widak / NurPhoto via Getty Images

Booster shots arrive for Mérida residents between 40-59

Booster shots for Mérida residents in their 40s and 50s arrived Friday. Photo: Courtesy A military plane with...
Carlos Rosado van der Gracht
Born in Mérida, Carlos Rosado van der Gracht is a Mexican/Canadian blogger, photographer and adventure expedition leader. He holds degrees in multimedia, philosophy and translation from universities in Mexico, Canada and Norway. Sign up for the Yucatán Roundup, a free newsletter, which delivers the week's top headlines every Monday.
Abraham and Issac take down the devil in defense of an infant Jesus in Dzitnup, Yucatán. Photo: Courtesy

Last Friday, on Christmas Eve, the small town of Dzitnup was the stage for one of Yucatán’s most unique holiday celebrations, the dance of “Abraham and Isaac”.

During the ritual, men dance while wearing wooden masks representing the biblical father and son duo, Abraham and Isaac.

According to tradition, this ritualistic dance is done to protect the newly born baby Jesus, from abduction by the devil.

The ceremony is believed to have its roots in a Mayan ceremony practiced well before the arrival of the first Europeans on the Yucatán Peninsula, but has obviously taken on overtly Christian features. 

Once the dance is concluded, men taking on the roles of Abraham and Issac symbolically beat up another man dressed up as the devil near the entrance to the town’s church. Photo: Courtesy

A centuries-old version of the ceremony was witnessed by the Catholic Friar Alonso Ponce in 1588 who described it as a ceremony to scare away Kisín, a Mayan demon closely associated with Satan during the colonial period. 

Earlier: Torch runners complete pilgrimages for the Virgin of Guadalupe

“The dance is an example of religious syncretism and a big part of our community’s identity, it is a great honor to take part in the ceremony,” says local historian Cruz Alberto Pat Itzá.

During the early colonial period, it was common for missionaries to highlight similarities between Meso-American religion and the Christian faith, in an effort to make the latter easier to accept for the indigenous Maya. 

Another well-known example of religious syncretism in Yucatán are the parallels drawn between the rain god Chaac and the Archangel Michael. 

Located just a few kilometers from Valladolid, Dzitnup is a very indigenous majority town of just under 1,300 residents. 

- Advertisement -

Subscribe Now!

More articles

Marines to take over security at Mérida and Cancún airports

Mexico's Marines will be taking control of seven airports across the country, with  Mérida and Cancún among them. 

What to do if you find baby sea turtles on the beach

Most people realize that it is not a good idea to disturb nesting or baby turtles, but what should we do if one appears to be in peril or distress?

New Frontier Airlines route to connect Cancún with Houston

Citing an increase in demand, Frontier Airlines has announced a new flight between Houston and Cancún.

Yucatán’s muralism boom —  an explosion of color, tradition and meaning

Yucatán’s history of muralism famously dates all the way back to the elaborate frescoes of the ancient Maya.

Students at Mérida’s private Catholic Universities caught trading thousands of explicit photos of their classmates

Numerous students at Mérida’s Anáuac Mayab University are reportedly active in a “secret” chat group to trade intimate photos of classmates, as well as engage in cyberbullying. 

New benches at ancient archaeological site anger Izamal residents

Modern slab benches detract from an ancient ruin at Izamal, neighbors say. Photo: Courtesy Modern-looking benches installed at...

Being a good neighbor to Yucatán’s roof cats and street dogs

Illustration: Juan Pablo Quintal García Cats replaced people as my friends soon after quarantine 2020 began. 

What my rescue dogs taught me

I thought I knew a lot about dogs until I took in two rescues. I was wrong....

Bus full of construction workers catches fire in Mérida’s north

A bus went up in flames just before 8 this morning in Mérida’s Francisco de Montejo neighborhood.

Mérida’s new surveillance center now has eyes on over 6,700 cameras

Yucatán's government has opened a new remote surveillance center to oversee the state's thousands of active security cameras.