The dance of the parachicos covers all areas of local life, fostering the coexistence of the community and the transmission of inherited ancestral knowledge, characteristics that in 2010 led it to be declared Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by UNESCO (Organization of the United Nations for Education, Science and Culture), after several years of joint work between the National Institute of Anthropology and History (INAH) and the Chiapas community.
According to oral tradition, in the middle of the 18th century, called then Chiapa de la Real Corona, a Spanish lady, Doña María de Angulo arrived looking for the indigenous healer to cure her little son from a strange illness. After bathing the child in the healing waters of Cumbujuyú, he healed. The parachicos evoke the ancient chiapacorceños who disguised themselves to entertain the infant during his illness, hence his name, because they did it “para el chico“. Meanwhile, the “chuntas” (men dressed as women) represented the servants of the Spanish lady.
The tradition also reports that a terrible locust plague ended with the local harvests, between 1767 and 1768, and in 1770 an epidemic caused the death of hundreds of people. Then, María de Angulo returned to the town and, in gratitude for having healed her son, she distributed corn and money to the population.
The dance of the parachicos continues to be organized in a traditional way and under the hierarchy of the mayordomías of the different neighborhoods of Chiapa de Corzo, headed by a patron, whose position is inherited by the members of the Nigenda family. The parachicos dance to the beat of the whistle and the drum for the Lord of Miracles, accompanied by the chuntas, abrecampos, vaqueros and tehuanos; On January 17 they dedicate their dance to Saint Anthony Abbot, and on the 23rd to Saint Sebastian Martyr. In their tours they visit the temples of Santo Domingo, San Jacinto, Señor del Calvario, Santa Cruz de Santa Elena, Santa Cruz de Cunduacan, Lord of Acapetahua and San Gregorio. They also go to the municipal pantheon to commemorate the deceased patrons, the Plaza de Parachicos and the banks of Nandambúa and Las Flechas.
[Translation of the text from the website of Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia]