“They think we’re enemies. Why? We’re all trying to make our town beautiful, with our traditions, with our ways of thinking and feeling. There’s love and kindness for everyone. So why do they want to attack us? We’re not hurting anyone.”

– Esther Noriega Molina, leader of a gang of Chunta dancers


“The Fiesta takes place during the Dead Days, between the end of the old year and the beginning of the new year. The Chunta is a unique ritual representation that reflects the Chiapanecan culture’s perception of time. The Chunta is a symbolic representation of the restructuring of the world. And in that restructuring, the world turns upside down.”

– Mario Nandayapa, academic from Chiapa de Corzo


“There’s a cost for the Chuntas going against gender roles and machismo, and coming out as homosexual.People don’t like it because it makes them uncomfortable. Traditional celebrations like the Fiesta Grande can help us to raise consciousness about this.”

– José Eliezer Esponda Cáceres, LGBT activist and Chunta dancer


“There are still some very traditional people who don’t accept the gay community. I don’t understand how it affects them. It doesn’t affect them at all. It’s like they feel that this town has to stay traditional. They don’t want it to change. We are living in a time of transition, and we should evolve with the times. Of course the other group will always say we’re breaking with tradition, but it’s not like that. We’re just wearing stylized dresses. Maybe they’re upset because we get more attention in our stylized clothing. But the more they gossip, the more famous they make us, right? They’re doing us a favor, because it means we’re really doing something. It means we exist.”

– Saraí Hernández Hernández, hairstylist and transgender Chuntá dancer


“Culture is a dynamic phenomenon. When it’s alive, it’s changing and transforming.  It’s full of positives and negatives. To me, it’s interesting that it has stayed alive even through those transformations. I mean, that’s better than just staying behind in our collective imagination. It’s better that it’s a living representation, and not a memory.”

– José Domingo Flores, artist and Chuntá dancer


“I like dressing as a Chunta because to me it represents the god of fertility, the duality between man and woman. That duality creates a moment in the Fiesta, when we’re all together, and you see the ideal world you wish existed. It’s about accepting ourselves just as we are. Respecting each other, and dancing with joy. For me it’s a very emotional thing to do a fertility dance. It means belonging to the earth, belonging in this world.”

– Isauro Vidal, Chuntá dancer


“If they’re looking for trouble, just step aside. I’m begging you kindly, please don’t fight.”

– Esther Noriega Molina, leader of a gang of Chunta dancers


“It’s about joy. It’s about waking up the earth and its seeds, waking up color, waking up life itself.”

– José Eliezer Esponda Cáceres, LGBT activist and Chunta dancer

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