Dance of the Flyers Ceremony
Quintana Roo, Mexico
N 18° 43.993 W 087° 41.585
The Dance of the Flyers (La Danza de los Voladores) ceremony performed to bring forth rain is performed whenever cruise ships are docked at the port of Costa Maya in Quintana, Roo, Mexico.
A consortium of cruise lines developed the port of Costa Maya. The area has deep water that can accommodate large cruise ships and provides a convenient stop for cruise ships that are visiting western Caribbean ports. Within the security area of the port, there is a faux Mayan village created for tourists. The Mayan pole ceremony, an authentic Dance of the Flyers (Danza de los Voladores), takes place in the central square.
According to Totonac myth a severe drought was inflicted by the gods because the people had neglected them. The Dance of the Flyers ceremony was created to appease the gods and bring back the rains. A permanent 72' high pole is installed in the courtyard of the faux Mayan village of Costa Maya. The ceremony is preformed by by professional flyers and witnessed by thousands of tourists.
In this version of the dance four flyers, dressed in traditional garb, climb to the top of the pole, tie ropes around their feet and descend, head first, to the ground while circling the pole the ritual number of 13 times. A fifth participant remains on top of the pole, plays a flute while pounding out a cadence on a drum.
La Danza de los Voladores has been recognized as intangible cultural heritage (ICH) by UNESCO in 2009. The country of Mexico is committed to safeguard and promote the tradition to keep it alive.