Festival of the Crosses

Crosses, Festival of the (Fiesta de las Cruces)

Late April
The Mayas of Quintana Roo, Mexico, celebrate the Fiesta of the Patron Crosses in late April. Although its origins are not fully understood, the festival's main feature is an unusual dance or pantomime known as okoztah-pol . Festival participants slaughter, cook, and consume a pig. The pig's head is reserved, decorated, and set upon the altar. The following day nine girls, bearing bowls of pinole (a powder of toasted corn) and spoons made from agave leaves, circle round a table in the atrium of the church. Two men come into the atrium, one carrying a rattle made from a gourd, the other carrying the decorated head of the pig, which he announces is for sale.
The men barter for the pig's head, while the girls circle nine times in one direction and nine times in the other, keeping track of their circuits by laying cigarettes on the table. The man with the pig's head impersonates the pig, which attempts to escape its captors. The pig impersonater is caught and given to the festival organizer for the price of a hundred cigarettes. Everyone else eats the pinole.
Mexico Tourism Board
21 E. 63rd St., Fl. 3
New York, NY 10021
800-446-3942 or 212-821-0314; fax: 212-821-0367
FiestaTime-1965, p. 63
Holidays, Festivals, and Celebrations of the World Dictionary, Fourth Edition. © 2010 by Omnigraphics, Inc.
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