Next week, the Guadalajara suburb of Tonala will host the famous “Dance of the Tastoanes,” an annual ritual commemorating an indigenous insurgence during the Spanish invasion of western Mexico. You can watch the famed Tastoanes festival in Tonala’s Cerro de la Reina on Thursday, July 25, with free presentations throughout the day.
Of course, the Guadalajara suburb is home to one of Mexico’s most vibrant ceramics and crafts communities, and worth visiting at any time of the year.
The centuries-old religious tradition dates back to the arrival of the Spanish in the old kingdom of Tonallan. The Indian queen, Cihualpilli, received the Spanish troops with open arms and willingly converted to Catholicism. But a group of Indians less enamored with the European invaders and their religion banded together and rebelled, putting up a heroic fight on Tonala’s Cerro de la Reina hill. As legend has it, when their rebellion was put down they were turned into grotesque monsters known as “tastoanes.”