The traditions and customs of Colima are the result of the mixture of aboriginal, Spanish, African and Philippine cultures. The amalgamation between these worlds began in colonial times.
The Spanish contributed elements such as the bullfights and the charreadas (rodeos), the Africans brought the mojigangas (which are large puppets) and influenced the dances of the area and the Filipinos spread the use of coconut in the gastronomy of Colima.
The aboriginal influence can be seen in dances, crafts and gastronomy. Many religious traditions show the syncretism between Catholic beliefs and Aboriginal beliefs. An example of this is the festival of the Chayacates.
On the other hand, the fact that Colima is located in the coastal region of Mexico has influenced the traditions of the state. For example, the gastronomy includes ingredients such as coconut, banana and fish, which are typical of the coastal region.
Traditions and customs of Colima
The gastronomy of Colima includes typical products from the coastal region, such as coconuts, bananas, lemons, fish and shellfish. Similarly, in the semi-arid areas of Colima, cattle are raised, which provide beef, goat and sheep meat.
Some of the typical dishes of the region are:
– Fish soup. This is a soup that is made with different types of fish and some fresh herbs, such as coriander.
– Tamale of chihuilin. To make this tamale, a corn dough is made with pork fat. The dough is flattened on a banana leaf and stuffed with a couple of river fish, called chihuilines.
Among the traditional sweets of Colima, the following stand out:
– Alfajores, which are made with coconut, peanuts, almonds, raisins, dates, plums and honey.
– Sweet empanadas, which are corn tortillas filled with walnuts, coconut, lemon and orange.
The best known beverages in the region are tuba and tuxca. Tuba is made from the fermented juice of coconut palm flowers. For its part, the tuxca is made with agave.
2- Dance of the Moors and Christians
The dance of the Moors and Christians is of Spanish origin and was introduced into Mexican territory during the conquest.
This was done in order to colonize the natives through cultural imperialism. Likewise, dance was a way of transmitting Christianity, since it is expressed that it was the power of God that helped the Spanish to expel the Moors.
This dance tells the story of the Arab invasion in Spain and how the Spanish recovered the territory of their country after centuries of fighting.
The events narrated in the dance begin in the 8th century and end in the 15th century with the expulsion of the Moors.
3- The shepherds
Pastorelas are short works that deal with religious themes. These are of Spanish origin and were introduced during the colonial era.
Pastorelas are usually held between December and January, beginning with the pastorela in honor of the Virgin of Guadalupe (December 12). The most popular of these representations is “The adoration of the three Magi”, which is done during the Epiphany.
4- Day of the Holy Cross
May 3 is celebrated on the day of the holy cross (also known as the “May cross”). This festival is of importance in the city Suchitlán of Colima state.
The May Cross is accompanied by dances and processions. The typical dance that is done on this day is that of the Morenos, a dance of indigenous origin.
5- The Chayacates of Ixtlahuacán
On January 6 (the day of the Epiphany) the festival of the Chayacates of Ixtlahuacán is held. This is a representation that mixes Spanish beliefs with the beliefs of the Mexican aborigines.
From the aborigines it takes the worship of the gods so that the cultivation of corn is prosperous. In addition, they represent the cycle of the cultivation of this cereal, which is one of the most important not only for the state but for the country.
From the Spanish, they take the format, which is very similar to that of the pastorelas. Likewise, Christian elements are included, such as the adoration of the Virgin.
6- The paspaques of Suchitlán
The paspaques of Suchitlán are rituals that are done on the occasion of the agricultural activities carried out in the region. This ritual is of pre-Hispanic origin and is celebrated in the city of Nahuas on March 19.
The festival of the pasquets focuses on corn and the preparation of different dishes based on corn. It is common to find tortillas, tamales and pozoles in the fairs that are organized during this day.
7- The festivities of Cristo de Caña
The Cristo de Caña festivities are held in Quesería during the month of May. In this celebration, the arrival of the image of Christ is commemorated in the 18th century, when it was brought from Pátzcuaro.
During the Cristo de Caña festivities, there are horse races, traditional dances, processions, concerts of music from the region and mojigangas.
The giant puppets that are made in Mexico to accompany certain celebrations are known by the name of “mojigangas”. This practice is of African origin.
Mojigangas are shown in parades. For example, in the Cristo de Caña parades, mojigangas representing biblical figures are made. On the other hand, during the independence festivities, mojigangas representing Mexican heroes are made.
The charreadas are popular rodeos, which are inspired by Spanish bullfights. In these, the charros (name given to cowboys) show their skills with lasso and riding.
10- Santiago Festival
The Santiago festival takes place in the month of July. During this party, vintage tequila is sipped and danced at the rodeo.
11- All Saints Fair
The tradition of venerating the dead throughout the country is already known. In the case of Colima, this celebration is one of the most joyous in the state and is celebrated from October 31 to November 17.
The entertainment offer is extensive, from catrina contests, agricultural fairs, women’s parades, charros and the celebration of different concerts with the most talented artists of the moment.
12- Festivities of San Rafael Arcángel
In the municipality of Cuauhtémoc, charrotaurinas festivals are held during the month of October. As it has a religious component, cabagatas of the Archangel Rafael, patron of the city, are brought out to the street.
In addition, there is an Expo of gastronomy, crafts and fun spaces for the little ones.
13- Manzanillo Festivities
Manzanillo is the most populated city in Colima and its most important event of the year is the May Festivities, a fair that commemorates the anniversary of the appointment of Puerto de Altura.
Although it has a space for the celebration, it spreads throughout the municipality and its surroundings. Concerts, dances, sports activities, mechanical games, agricultural festivals and lots of food are some of the ingredients of this popular festival.
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