Mexico on the Skin, A Synesthesia Festival in Xcaret
Sung by singers at the lavish park Xcaret, “México en la piel” (Mexico on the Skin), is the Grand Finale for the musical “México Espectacular” (Spectacular Mexico). This show, a celebration of “synesthesia” – a stimulus that captivates each of the senses and invites them to travel through time and cosmos simultaneously- allows the audience to experience the history of Mexico in a uniquely spectacular fashion, from the Dance of the Owls -the sacred bird of the Mayas- and the “Uárhukua Chanakua” (a 3,000 year old game, played with a ball of fire) to the brutal encounter between two worlds and
the birth of a new culture, where the apparition of the Lady of Guadalupe in 1531 marked the presence of a Virgin that forevermore prints a nation’s cultural identity.
The show is delightfully set as a tribute to the most evocative folklore of some states, such as Oaxaca, Veracruz and Michoacán. From the “Pineapple Flower” and the dancers of the nine different ethnic groups in the Oaxaca mountains to the mighty Papantla Flying Men; from the sounds of Son Jarocho to the music of Michoacán Purépecha plateau; through the vigorous dancers from La Huasteca region. The performance culminates with scenes from the 1910 Mexican Revolution. This is a presentation that takes the spectators’ breaths away and even sends shivers down their spines, while eliciting the pride felt in being Mexican.
What is Xcaret? Xcaret is syncretism, exuberance, habitat preservation and an indulgence for the senses. This experience is a synesthetic enjoyment. It gives one a sense of pride and belonging, and it places hope in your sight, within the tropical embrace of the jungle. In the words of our hostess, Lucía Munguía, Xcaret means “giving our visitors a bit of Mexico so they can take it back to their homes.” Xcaret holds your hand and dives into your eyes giving back Hope; yes, with a capital H. “Hope” is an enormous sea turtle that carries this name, rescued by the park and brought back to life after being mutilated by human ignorance, restoring her dignity and the world’s right to enjoy her.
What seems like a metaphor comes alive and finds its essence, while the visitor explores every angle of the capricious nature of shapes; in its flora and its fauna; in the balance of every environment and ecosystem.
One sees it in the newly opened aviary (with its multiform and resounding winged spirits), in the aquarium, the butterflies, the excellent cuisine and even in the genuine kindness of its workers. Xcaret is the turquoise blue, the emerald green, the orange, and the yellow which melt vibrantly in the macaws’ festive plumage. Xcaret bewitches those who visit it.
Xcaret enchants you
Glimpsed here is a little corner of all of Mexico: the replica of a Henequen fiber plantation; the traditional rodeo, and the chapel of St. Francis of Assisi with its majestic views and a Christ carved into a tree trunk, both sacred and tremulous. The other chapel for Our Lady of Guadalupe with an altar built into a natural cenote (underground lagoon) like a tribute to the Mayan Gods, to the Virgin of Guadalupe and all gods and goddesses of the cosmologies; a cemetery shaped like a snail shell with witty epitaphs. Xcaret is an atypical beauty that eclipses the eyes.
Xcaret is all of this and more, so much that language is not enough. Xcaret is homage and worship to every sense; it is nature that beats and oozes, as the song says: “This is what Mexico feels like; this is what Mexico feels like, like lips to the skin. This is how Mexico embraces you,this is how Mexico tastes, and this is how Mexico gets under your skin”.
Mexico erupts in all its glory in Xcaret.
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Story by María Clara de Greiff