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date: 26 June 2022

Abstract and Keywords

St. Michael the Archangel is a biblical icon the Spanish brought to Mexico during the sixteenth century. He was used for evangelization as part of a religious discourse incorporating icons as its principal tool, strongly impacting indigenous people. Considered a leader of God’s armies fighting against evil, Michael became the patron saint of soldiers. Danza de Migueles is a Mexican ritual dance-drama about the fight between good and evil, still performed each year by Nahuas and Totonacas indigenous people of Puebla and Veracruz. It reinvents the military attributes of a Catholic icon within the frame of Mesoamerican religions, shaping indigenous identity with new ways of cultural resistance. This chapter addresses changes and reinterpretations that St. Michael’s iconography underwent when placed in a dancing context and how it has served the Nahuas from Tzinacapan in building their identity as a distinct ethnic group in contemporary Mexico.

Keywords: Mexican Ritual Dance, Iconography, St. Michael, Nahuas, Puebla, Tzinacapan

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