Denis Vejas

Culture Birthday party for the Last Aztec Emperor 2015
« Culture

February 23 is considered the birthday of Cuauhtémoc, the last Aztec Emperor. 

According to the oral tradition, after his execution, his faithful warriors transported his bones to his birthplace: Ixcateopan de Cuauhtémoc, a small mountain town in the southern part of the state of Guerrero.

For the indigenous population of Mexico, Cuauhtemoc is a symbol of resistance against the conquerors and an emblem of their ethnic and cultural identity, so it is not surprising that during the five days celebration, the tiny town is invaded by Aztec dancers from all over the country.

The epicenter of the celebration is the church, where the supposed remains of the last emperor are exhibited. All Catholic paraphernalia was removed long ago, so the temple emits a purely indigenous spirit with dozens of camouflaged bodies smelling of incense and moving in hypnotic circles to the rhythms of the drums.

They are dancing to reconnect, reunite and break free from all the imposed rules that have been forced to carry for the last 500 years.


Ixcateopan de Cuauhtemoc, Guerrero, Mexico


This series is a part of "Residents and Visitors" photography project.

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