Grandmother. Dance character,
usually a male dressed as an old
woman, who accompanies the
Abuelo and provides comic relief.
Sometimes called “Perejundia” in
|| Grandfather. Dance character who provides order and
sometimes comedy in Matachines groups.
|| Captains. The two danzantes who stand at the head of
the files during the Matachines dance.
|| Crown. The more elaborate headdress worn by the
Monarca to distinguish him from the danzantes.
|| Decorated headdress worn by the danzantes, often said
to resemble a bishop’s miter or an Aztec emperor’s crown.
Danzante: Dancer. Sometimes called soldiers. One of the line
dancers in the Matachines dance.
|| Files. The two parallel lines of Matachines danzantes.
|| A hollow gourd filled with seeds or stones fastened to a
stick that is carried in the left hand of the danzantes and
used as a percussive musical instrument to mark time
during the dance. It is similar to a maraca.
|| The name of the young female (sometimes cross-dressed
boy) character in the Matachines dance. Thought to be
a Hispanization of the Nahua name Malinal or
Malinali given to a woman who was born on the twelfth
day of the month in the Aztec calendar. Adding the
respectful Nahuatl suffix “tzin” the name results in Malintzín
(pronounced in Spanish as Malinche) which was
also the given Nahua name of Cortes’ companion and
translator Dońa Marina.
|| Monarch. The leader of the Matachines danzantes who
is commonly thought to represent Montezuma.
Palma: Palm leaf. A highly decorated flat fan-like wand with
three to seven points carried by the danzantes in their
right hands and waved in time to the music during the
|| (See Abuela)
|| Literally, “bull.” A mischievous character in the
Matachines dance dressed as a bull. He is thought by
some to represent evil.