Los Pukes, symbolos de la fuerza y destreza indigena.

The Pukes, symbols of the indigenous force and dexterity.

Naranja de Tapia, Michoacan, Mexico. Photography @ Florence Leyret

Danza de los Tigres (o de los Pukes), Naranja de Tapia, Michoacan, Mexico.

Los Pukes, symbolos de la fuerza y de la destreza indigena.

Photography@ Florence Leyret Jeune

 In many villages and towns across Mexico, the dance of the Moors (La danza de los Moros) officially celebrates the triumph of Spanish Catholicism over its enemies, the Moors, or, I imagine, over the pagans in general. The dance was introduced into Mexico by the Spanish friars in the sixteenth century for evangelization purposes.

The dance is a choregraphic religious act, a danced prayer. It is danced in all villages of the “Meseta Purepecha”during the celebration of the town’s patron saint’s day. The costumes used are a mix of oriental and indigenous cultures. 

  The participants dance in a very structured way to declare their faith, and periodically they all kneel, demonstrating their allegiance  to the saint. 

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune
See more on the Moors on my website:

During the yearly celebration of Mary Magdalene, in Uruapan(Michoacan, Mexico), a large procession is held, leaving from the neighborhood of “La Magdalena” up to the center of town. The most visually striking group, leading the parade is the one of the ”Hortelanos”/”Gardeners”, large group of young men wearing costumes made of gourds, animal skins, burlap, vegetables and all sorts of nature’s ephemeral goods. The sacred theme is combined with the profane, as elements of ostensibly religious nature are melted, sometimes imperceptibly, sometimes in a  puzzling way (the priest and the altar boy!), with the secular. The term “Hortelanos”/”Gardener” is said  to refer to the Gospel of John, when the resurrected Christ is first seen by the disciple Mary Magdalene, who mistakes him for the gardener. 

  Apart of the ritual expression of their shared belief, the goal of the Hortelanos is to celebrate and transcend the ordinary of reality, creating a large “happening” in interacting  and improvising mischievously with the crowd gathered along the route of the parade. 

Durante la celebración anual de Santa María Magdalena, en Uruapan,(Michoacan, Mexico) se celebró una gran procesión conocida como Paseo de las Yuntas, saliendo desde el barrio de “La Magdalena” hasta el centro de la ciudad. El grupo el más atractivo visualmente, lo que lleva el desfile es el de los ”Hortelanos” / “Jardineros”, gran grupo de hombres jóvenes vestidos con trajes hechos de guajes, pieles de animales, arpillera, verduras y todos tipos de productos efímeros de la naturaleza. El tema sagrado se combina con el profano, como elementos de la naturaleza aparentemente religiosa se ​​funden, a veces de manera imperceptible, a veces bastante chocante (el sacerdote y el monaguillo!!!), con el secular.

La palabra “Hortelanos”  se dice en el barrio para hacer referencia al Evangelio de Juan, cuando el Cristo resucitado es visto por primera vez por María Magdalena, que lo confunde con el jardinero. 

Aparte de la expresión ritual de su creencia compartida, el objetivo de los Hortelanos es celebrar y trascender lo ordinario de la realidad, creando una gran “happening” en la interacción y improvisación alegre con la multitud reunida al  largo de la ruta del desfile.

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

Moros celebrando a San Pedro, Michoacan, Mexico

Moors celebrating San Peter, Michoacan, Mexico

© Florence Leyret Jeune

Maringuia, figura feminina actuada por un hombre, celebración de Corpus Christi, lago de Patzcuaro,Michoacan,Mexico

The Maringuia is an elegant masked character symbolizing Mary, or the Moon, “played” by a man. She/He can be seen dancing is many of the Purepechas celebrations. Here, on Lake Patzcuaro.

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

Beauty of the Moors, Belleza de los Moros, Capacuaro, Michoacan, Mexico

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

Fisherman of Janitzio, Lake Patzcuaro, Michoacan, Mexico. 

(What could be) the cover of Vogue Mexico. Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

My interview has just been published in FuseVisual, a site for influential visual communication artists and professionals to share their work, visions, and journeys. Feeling honored!


Roman soldiers re-enacting the search for Christ, Holy week, Tzintzuntzan, Michoacan, Mexico

Los Espias buscando al Cristo (recreación), Semana Santa, Tzintzuntzan, Michoacan, Mexico

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

Domingo de Palmas en la Meseta Purepecha

Photography  © Florence Leyret Jeune

Pour en finir avec le Diable…Pastorela, Michoacan, Mexico.

 Pastorelas  are dramatizations of the shepherds journey to see the infant Jesus played by the villagers throughout  Michoacan during the month of December. They enact the struggle of angels against the devils that are trying to hinder the shepherds,  and deliver, through their playful language and funny situations,  the most important message of the season: Good always overcomes Evil. 

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

Danza de los Viejitos, Ocumicho, Michoacan, Mexico

 For the P’urhepechas, the “fiesta” is ritual, dance, food, fireworks and rockets, and is carefully prepared and supervised under the authority of the “cargueros”. 
The fiesta is an occasion of renewal of faith, ceremonies, sacred actions, religious expression, and exaltation of identity. It is joy, libation, discipline, sacrifice, collaboration.

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune

Diablos en Tocuaro, Michoacan, Mexico.

"En términos generales, los personajes onmipresentes en las pastorelas mexicanas son: el ángel (que representa el arcángel Miguel), los pastores, el ermitaño (que encarna el espíritu de los ancestros) y el demonio siempre interesado y dispuesto a robarse al Niño Jesús, el Niño Sol. Lucifer, enemigo de la luz y señor de las tinieblas, es posible que ocupara, para los primeros indígenas conversos, el lugar de Yayahuqui Texcatlipocatl, el negro, y es casi siempre el personaje más importante de las pastorelas."(Carlos Romero Giordano)

"Pastorelas" are dramatizations of the shepherds’ journey to see the infant Jesus. They enact the struggle of angels against the devils that are trying to hinder the shepherds. 

Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune 

Ano nuevo, Michoacan, Mexico.

Before the conquest, the color black was associated with deities and ceremonies. Among the Purepechas, the god Curicaueri was black; the nobles Tarascans blackened their body with soot for solemn ceremonies, and the warriors did the same before entering the battle.

The performance of the “Negros” in the  Purepecha plateau, in Michoacan, during the 25th of December and 1rst of January, is linked to the change of “cargueros” (ceremonial leaders).
"In pre-columbian times, black was associated with the extraordinary: with the divinity, with the power and the lavish display of riches." (Janet Esser)
Here, a large group of  young “Negritos”, perform all day long in the village with great discipline, dancing in front of each household who makes donations (mainly corn) for the new cargueros.
Photography © Florence Leyret Jeune