Friday, May 14, 2010

A Visit to Todos Santos Cuchumatan

I remember an article published by National Geographic several years ago about the horse race  that takes place in Todos Santos every year in November 1 to commemorate the Day of All Saints; all saints is the literal translation for "todos santos". Since then, I have been intrigued about this famous race and what it represents. 
My logical source of information, I thought, is the National Geographic Website, but to my surprise, I didn't find anything related to the race. So probably, my "several years" reference, actually means "many years"... Anyway, I spent some time trying to pick and choose pieces of information interesting enough to share with all of you.  
The "Skach Koyl" (as locals call the race) is much more than just a horse race, it is a festival that involves marimba music, traditional dances, food, and lots of liquor. 
The night before the race "All Hollows Eve" Todo Santos is alive with Marimbas, parties and drinking.  The race is a continuous point to point and back again, lasting hours as a test of bravery and endurance; however, riders having a drink  every time they get from one point to another is a requisite. After the first hour most of the riders are drunk and getting drunker, so it is not unusual for riders to fall off horses.
After what I have read and the videos that I watched, I think that this tradition might  be appealing to people interested in cultural anthropology or sociology, for whom  a visit to Todos Santos for the festival might just be a must.
To be honest, I couldn't find a purpose and the true meaning behind this tradition.
Personally, I will choose some other date to visit this town where, as far as I can see, traditional clothing -my weakness, is very much in use and unusually, the male costume is as eye-catching as the attire women wear.

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