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#339093 - 05/27/09 02:19 PM Mooro Dance at the Cacao Festival
Marty Offline

The Toledo Cacao Growers Festival was held over the long weekend in and around Punta Gorda Town. As we’ve told you, the event is about the cacao industry, but it’s more than just a trade show – it’s a cultural event – where the cacao’s place in Maya history is brought to the front and center of this revered culture. 7News was in Toledo and we’ll have two stories about the festival, but first tonight, we look at one of the centerpiece events, the Moori Dance.

Jules Vasquez Reporting,
This is the Mooro Dance, the ornate costumes make it look like colorful play but it is in fact a centuries old dance depicting a mythical battle from a faraway place. There are 12 dancers, 6 depict Spaniards who are Christians – that’s the character on the right of your screen while the other 6 depict a group called Mooros – that’s the character on the left. They look close in this picture, but for the purpose of the dance, they are at war.

Justino Peck, Chairman – Toledo Cacao Growers Assoc.
“The Christians represent Christianity after they have found out that there is Christianity in this world while the Mooro are people who used to live under water. Their livelihood is underwater and what their occupations are underwater is processing of silk cloths. They harvest that. However before pre-dawn period, the Mooro and the Christians started a fight against each other. The reason is because there are two kings; the King the Christian and the King of the Mooros.”

It’s a traditional dance that was recently brought to Belize by Mayans from Guatemala for cultural preservation.

Justino Peck,
“Over the past few years we have losing our cultural dance activity. So for that reason the Toledo Cacao Festival Committee decided that every year we will try to demonstrate to the people who live here and to the people who live in Belize but not only Belize but also international people who come to this festivity to see what takes place here; how is the tradition, how is the culture, how it is being performed here.”

Pedro Pop, Head of Dance Group
“Even though there are some of us who try to say we are promoting our culture and traditions but yet we are not doing it but it is showing that we are not only talking but also showing something that we have.”

And what does keeping this tradition alive have to do with cacao? Organizers say everything because the cacao fruit is intrinsic to Mayan culture and tradition.

Armando Choco, TCGA
“That is one other thing that the Cacao Festival is trying to revive, trying to promote, and trying to tell the people look, that cacao production is part of the livelihood of the Mayan people in Toledo District. In fact in the past our Mayan ancestors used coco beans as currency, they did a lot of bartering. They exchanged goods with coco beans.”

Tomorrow, we’ll take you on the cacao trail – inside the harvesting of one of this country’s most remarkable export crops.

Channel 7

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#339101 - 05/27/09 03:17 PM Re: Mooro Dance at the Cacao Festival [Re: Marty]
Katie Valk Offline
Very interesting, colorful, great to see the community out and loved the chocolate drinks.
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