florence leyret jeune

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La Octava tradicional …Una semana después el Dia de los Muertos, en Ihuatzio (michoacan, Mexico),  es el tiempo de decir adiós a las animas de los antepasados antes de su despedida, que se hace mas dulce con las ofrendas de comida tradicional y agua. De nuevo, es un tiempo sagrado para cerrar el ciclo del encuentro anual con las ánimas, un tiempo donde las familias se reúnen, un tiempo por la comunidad por agregarse, tiempo por el reparto de las ofrendas entre familiares,amigos, y visitantes.
The traditional “OCTAVA” … A week after the Day of the Dead, in Ihuatzio (Michoacan, Mexico) is time to say goodbye to the souls of ancestors before their departure, travel which will be sweeter with offerings of traditional food and fresh water. Again, it is a sacred time to close the cycle of the annual meeting with the souls of the deceased, a time for families to gather, a time for the community to meet, a time to share the offerings among friends, family, and visitors.

Photography@ Florence Leyret Jeune

 In many villages and towns across Mexico, the dance of the Moors (La danza de los Moros) officially celebrates the triumph of Spanish Catholicism over its enemies, the Moors, or, I imagine, over the pagans in general. The dance was introduced into Mexico by the Spanish friars in the sixteenth century for evangelization purposes.

The dance is a choregraphic religious act, a danced prayer. It is danced in all villages of the “Meseta Purepecha"during the celebration of the town’s patron saint’s day. The costumes used are a mix of oriental and indigenous cultures. 

  Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

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Corpus Christi, a celebration of giving and receiving. Michoacan, Mexico

In the Meseta Purepecha (Michoacan), the  celebration of Corpus Christi rests on an older indigenous festival related to the agricultural cycles, giving thanks to the generous land for the good harvests of the year, and calling to the gods so that there should be rains in the coming season. 

At the end of the procession starts the CH’ANANTSKUA , the festive time when members of each profession throw the products of their labor to the air,  offering them symbolically to the Gods and, by extension, to the people (coming from the neighboring villages) who are gathering there, receiving the gifts falling from the sky (from the Gods…) with their open arms.

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

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Circo Kin, a small family circus living a nomadic life throughout Mexico, pitching their tent in dusty fields in small towns of rural areas. Small family circuses have been part of a long tradition in Mexico, but recently, with the ban of animals in circuses, their precarious existence has been jeopardized, animals being the main attraction for the public.

© Florence Leyret Jeune

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Pastorela, Michoacan, Mexico. 

Pastorelas are played throughout all villages of rural Michoacan during the whole month of December and “re-enact” the struggle of the shepherds’ journey against the Devils that are trying to hinder them from completing their mission, find the Christ child. The  Archangel Michael’s intervention will defend the shepherds on their journey, and at  the end will overcome the Devils. Pastorelas bring, through their playful language and funny situations, the most important message of the season: Good always overcomes Evil. 

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

“Pastorelas” are dramatizations of the shepherds’ journey to see the infant Jesus. They enact the struggle of angels against the devils that are trying to hinder the shepherds. They are played in all villages of Mexico at Christmas time.

“En términos generales, los personajes onmipresentes en las pastorelas mexicanas son: el ángel (que representa el arcángel Miguel), los pastores, el ermitaño (que encarna el espíritu de los ancestros) y el demonio siempre interesado y dispuesto a robarse al Niño Jesús, el Niño Sol. Lucifer, enemigo de la luz y señor de las tinieblas, es posible que ocupara, para los primeros indígenas conversos, el lugar de Yayahuqui Texcatlipocatl, el negro, y es casi siempre el personaje más importante de las pastorelas.”(Carlos Romero Giordano)

Here, a Devil’s mask and costume created by Felipe Horta, mask maker in Tocuaro, Michoacan, Mexico. Tocuaro has become famous for its extremely elaborated Devil masks.

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune 

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The traditional “greased pole”(”Palo encebado”) is a “game” in which groups of participants climb a greased pole in order to reach the rewards displayed at the top. Apart from its purely entertaining and fun aspect, the greased pole game encompasses  the values celebrated by the community: strength, courage and above all, collective spirit and solidarity. On a symbolical level, it represents the constant human effort to aim higher and perseverance in face of adversity. It is also said to represent a sacred space linking earth and sky, or heaven…the earthly and the spiritual. (Michoacan, Mexico)

El Palo Encebado es un “juego” en el que grupos de participantes suben un poste engrasado con el fin de llegar a las recompensas que se muestran en la parte superior. Aparte de su aspecto de pura diversion, el palo encebado abarca los valores celebradas por la comunidad: fuerza, coraje y sobre todo, espíritu colectivo y solidaridad. Al nivel simbólico, representa el constante esfuerzo humano para apuntar más alto y su perseverancia en frente de la adversidad. También se dice para representar un espacio sagrado que une la tierra y el cielo … lo terrenal y lo espiritual. (Michoacán, México)

Photography @Florence Leyret Jeune