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‘Chinelo’ comes from the Nahuatl tzineloa, which means shoulder and hip movement.

The Chinelos’ traditions started approximately two hundred years ago in Tlayacapan Morelos, Mexico, (located about ninety minutes south of Mexico City) after the Spanish colonization, when the Indians, tired of being excluded from the Christian festivities, organized a group of people and dressed up with old clothing and covered their faces with handkerchiefs. They started to whistle, yell and jump around the streets to make fun of the Spanish people. This demonstration was such a success that they did it for years to follow. The word “Chinelo” comes from the Nahuatl tzineloa, which means shoulder and hip movement. At first the Chinelos would dance only once a year, during the carnival, four days prior to Ash Wednesday, since this was the approved time to misbehave via Catholic beliefs. Year after year, this new tradition was getting more popular and they started to play at different festivities, such as weddings, festivals, birthdays, baptisms and even funerals. -The Chinelos

Una mujer mira a un hombre vestido de chinelo, durante la celebración del Día de la Candelaria en Xochimilco, en la Ciudad de México.

Chinelo

A woman takes a glimpse at a Chinelo

A woman looks at a man dressed in Chinelo, during the celebration of Candlemas Day in Xochimilco in Mexico City.
Reuters / Edgard Garrido

Credits: Milenio http://mile.io/1uSDOoN

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