Costume of the Dance of the Viejitos (Dance of the Old Men)
Ethnic Group: Purépecha
Donated by Angeles López-Portillo de Stiteler
Mask, Date unknown
Hand carved wood with hand painting and hair and beard of ixtle or dried corn silk.
Sarape, date unknown
Hand woven poncho of thick cotton threads in a variety of colors, with red dominant.
Sombrero, date unknown
Hat of woven palm decorated with multi-colored strips of plastic ribbons.
Wooden cane of tree root
Shirt and pants of rough cotton
With roots in prehispanic times, this dance, originally from Michoacan and known throughout Mexico, is danced on secular occasions, but mainly it is danced during religious ceremonies. The dancers try to outdo the others with their steps and through clowning around.
This dance is to give thanks for good rains and good harvests. It is danced by three “old men” (usually young people) and one child who represents new life. They dance four times a year, with every change of season or solstice. Each one of the four people represents a season, each element, and each cardinal point according to the Purépechas.