Chinelos

Chinelos is a traditional carnival dance in the Mexican state of Morelos. Chinelo is also a dancer performing this dance. Dancers dance to special tunes played by the local brass band. Today the best dancers can be found in towns like Tepoztlán, Yautepec, Coacalco etc.

Chinelo
Chinelo

It is believed that Chinelos was created in Tlayacapan in the northeast of the state. According to local sources it was in 1870 when a group of teenagers was not allowed to participate in the local carnival. Since they wanted to obey the Lent related customs they had dressed themselves into some old clothes. Every person also put a piece of cloth on his/her face. Then they started to yell, jump and redicule the Spaniards. They drew attention. People liked them. So, they decided to repeat everything next year. They became known as “huehuetzin” which in Nahuatl language means "a person wearing old clothes". Soon after that the moustache and pointed beard were also added to the mask.

Typical costume is of red and black colour. Other colours are also used. The costume is usually made of velvet. It has many artificial jewel decorations. Dancers of Chinelos are organized in groups known as "comparsas". Each group has its own flag.