The Peninsular States

Yucatan, Campeche and Quintana Roo

by José Luis Ovalle

en Español⇒

The dance, the fiesta and the music from the peninsular states of Campeche, Yucatán and Quintana Roo are called jaranas. This music is a marvelous combination of Spanish folklore with the pentaphonic sounds of Mayan music. In addition, the Afro-Caribbean guaracha style (known as "salsa" today) has exerted a tremendous influence on the jaranas due to the peninsula's proximity to Cuba. The music is usually played by an orchestra with the clarinet and saxophone as prominent instruments.

In the state of Yucatán the "terno" is the name of the female's three-piece vestment. It consists of three embroidered satin pices: a tunic called "huipil" in Mayan; the embroidered collar called "jubçn"; and the skirt, called "fustán". The local mestiza women wear a rebozo, use a coral rosary as a necklace and a giant bow on their heads called "cinta colorada". The men wear the Caribbean guayabera, a name given to this shirt because of its four pockets big enough to fit several guava fruit in each.

The most popular festivity is the vaqueria, a celebration that landowners organize to thank their hired hands after the branding of the cattle. The dances that compose a vaqueria are a series of jaranas that have become standards. It opens with a procession in which the main dishes are carried to the landowner's home, where everyone is invited to dine, and then in late aftenoon, the dancing begins. Anaripola, Aires Yucatecos, the Maypole Dance (Tukunluchuu), Las mujeres que se pintan, El toro grande and El torito are all favorite jaranas.

© Copyright José Luis Ovalle, 2007 - 2017. All Rights Reserved. Derechos reservados.

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