The Mitote Ceremonial Dance


To the Dance of the Mitote, the nayeeris call it "dances in a circle". Throughout the year, this town celebrates several parties with dances and music. Also they celebrate catholic occasions, like the days of San Miguel, San Antonio, the Virgin of Guadalupe, the Virgin of the Rosary, Holy Week, Day of the Dead, Christmas Eve and the Pachitas. The latter is called "naci jetse'e or maujnasimuaj", which means the feast of the ashes, which means footprint. The nayeeri life and its calendar are linked to the agricultural cycle, that's why the most important festivities are the Mitotes; when the seeds that will be sown on February 2, the day of the Candelaria, are blessed, when the rainy season begins, when it is sown and when it is harvested.

When the planting season begins, the o'dam celebrate the sacred rite of the mitote, which they also call xiotal. In summer, when it is very hot, the land is dry and full of rocks, so they need rain. They ask for it in May and they also bless the ears of corn in November. For that they dance around the fire, to ask for good harvests. They dance at night to the sound of a musical bow. Five days before the dance, those summoned must bring firewood and flowers to the courtyard where it is held, located on a hill in the middle of the solitude of the forest.

The mitotes can be familiar or with the whole community. There are always singers, musicians, dancers and narrators of the myths of origin and ancient stories, for example, when the Cora man was born, the gods and Mother Earth. In April or May, dance the dance called "Death of the Chicharra" to offer god father the fruits and invoke the first rains for the next plantings of corn. Everyone participates in the rituals; children, youth and adults dance as a couple around the cantor of myths. They also eat tamales of beans, plums, huamúchiles, mangos and pitayos.

The most important person in the mitote ritual is the shaman, who wears a mukas; a feather hat First clean the sacred courtyard, in the center draw a symbolic arch with arrows stuck in the ground and then put a pipe to smoke and a corn offering. The shaman is the intermediary of the requests of the people before the divinity. In the end he blesses the whole community and above all, the children who become adults.

Five days after the mitote, the assistants must continue to be blessed, that is, meditating, fasting, abstaining from sexual contact, drinking wine, bathing and becoming angry. Children should not play pranks.

Another communal mitote is also called in the new year, when there is a change of authorities. It also happens that when an important person dies, extraordinary mitotes are organized. In the o'dam culture, various activities are carried out to keep the dead happy and far from the living.

The state of Durango is not only made up of beautiful cities. There are also small communities that continue to live and share their millenary traditions through fascinating celebrations, full of dance and music.

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