Folklore is a word whose meaning is difficult to understand. Among the different definitions that exist, Carlos Rivera’s is one of the more exact ones. He defines “folklore” as “wisdom of the people.” According to Rivera, “folk” means “people” or “social group” and “lore” means “wisdom” or “knowledge.” In summary, folklore is the science of the people regarding the traditions and customs of their native land. With respect to the origin of the word “folklore,” some believe it comes from the French language, but Carlos Rivera in National Folklore, “!E…a Ver que Pueblo del Mundo!”, page 46, says it is an English word.
The folklore of Mexico dates back to the primitive stages of our people and is a manifestation of their concerns, rich traditions, interesting popular practices ad emotional religious ceremonies. The pre-hispanic cultures are manifested in poplar knowledge, and to corroborate this we have but to look at Mexico’s history and antiquities, for example in the archeological excavations, to find testimony of our past with all it myths, legends, historical ad religious roots. Some samples of indigenous Mexican literature have been preserved in their original form thanks to oral transmission and historical records which provide a wealth of information about the pre-hispanic world. I all the these historical evidences we can clearly see that the most profound sentiments of the tribes were always linked in their essence to religion, poetry, music and dance.
Music and dance remain today as art forms which express the feelings and values of a culture. Is there a Mexican away from his country who des not feel Mexico within his spirit when he witnesses presentations of our genuine dances and songs? Is there ayone from Veracruz who des not remember his land upon hearing it’s “sones” and “huapangos?” Or a Tapatio who does not evoke his homeland when hearing the mariachis and seeing its women beautifully dressed? Is there anyone who is not moved by the revolutionary “corridos” created by the people during the glorious times of the Mexican Revolution?
Dance is beautiful and rich aspect of folklore. The people express their feeling in the rhythm of dance. They express their tragedies and joys, their loves and great hopes, their acts of war and their prayers for peace. Dances are not only movements, but also the history, the joy and the pain of a race.
Dancing is one of the most beautiful aesthetic expressions developed by man. It is a very ancient art that appeared almost with the birth of humanity. Here it suffices to remember the dances of Congull ad Alpena in Spain and the religious, warlike and festive dances of the ancient Egyptian empire. Even though religious dances were forbidden by the Catholic Church, until recently some people practiced the “Dance of the Sieses,” the “Dance of Death” or “Dance Macabre,” etc. Popular dances have also existed since very remote times and they are the ones which have lasted the longest throughout time.