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12135 - From Fasching (carnival) to a sacred dance

The Matazin of Dosoledo in italian speaking Southern Tirol and the rarámuri Matachine in Tarahumaraland of Northern Mexico  

dokumentary movie. ca. 25 min.  

Like many ideas and things which since long time traveled throughout the world this film draws attention to the history of a dance which once upon the time came from Europe to the Americas. The Matachine dance spread out during the 17. and 18. Century into many cultures of Northwest Mexico and the American Southwest (and is even known in Polynesia). The Matachine was originally brought in by catholic fathers as an agent or clue within the missionization of the indian population at that time. Actually the Matachine nearly everywhere has a high-ranking position, often integrated in cultural Organisations. Matachine is celebrated among the Rarámuri of the Sierra Tarahumara (Chihuahua, México) as well. In Europe the Matachine ("Matazin") originally was a Fasching Dance at the Comelico Superiore being part of the historical Ventian Carnival in generell. Dosoledo, a small village in Southern Tirol, is obviously the only village left in Europe where the Matazin (as called in this area) can still be observed. Its carnevalistic caracter (church doors closed!) stands in opposite to the rarámuri Matachine-Dancers (dancing in the church!); for them it became a sacred manifestation for the Guadalupana (Hl. Mary) every year from 12th of Decembre to the 6th of January. The transformation of meaning and ritual function into a divine context was generated by the people themselves. Even if there has been a historical input by the missionaries the Matachine took its own ways in the heads of the people. Matachine became popular in the American Southwest and in Northwest Mexico, while in Europe it nearly became extinct.

Author: Deimel, Claus (Germany / Deutschland)

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