The Voladores de Papantla at the Museo Nacional de Antropología.

The ceremony of the voladores de papantla comes from Veracruz and dates back to the precolonial era.

The ritual begins with five men circling a 30-foot pole.

The men then begin to climb the pole.

One stays at the bottom (he collects tips).

At the top, they all get into position on a rotating platform.

The platform spins and the voladores launch themselves off.

The  musician continues to play his pipe.

Each volador spins upside down around the pole for 13 times — for a total of 52 rotations, to signify the number of years in the Mesoamerican calendar cycle.

All photographs by author.


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