GENERAL REGION: Latin America
SUBREGION: Salama, Baja Verapaz
CEREMONY: Danza de los Mazates
MAIN MATERIAL: wood
OTHER MATERIALS: oil-based paint
The Danza de los Mazates in Baja Verapaz has many incarnations, but most go under the Spanish name Baile (or Danza) de los Viejitos (Dance of the Little Old Men). This is one of the oldest dances in this region of Guatemala and is performed to honor the patron saint of the village. Among the mazates are two distinguished ones: the Mazate Anciano (elder mazate) and the Mazate Joven (young mazate). The dancers carry staves and rattles and wear coats and wide-brimmed hats. In most regions, the mazate masks resembling old men with some degree of realism, but in the distant past, masks could be more abstract and wilder in appearance. Even today, the village of Salama, where this mask originated, tend to have a more exaggerated look.