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Mexico City's annual custom showcases traditional folk art

Reporter: Franc Contreras 丨 CCTV.com

10-26-2016 04:45 BJT

In Mexico City, an annual tradition this time of year includes a parade that pays homage to Mexican folk art sculptures depicting fantastical creatures.

Straight from the imagination of Mexican creators. These giant figures are called Alebrijes and each year they take over the main boulevard during a parade here in the Mexican capital.

These fantasy figures are designed for the purpose of surprising audiences. Their bright colors and unusual shapes are inspired from mythical monsters on every continent, including Africa and Asia. 

Now, an October tradition, the folk art parade takes place just before Mexico's well-known Day of the Dead celebrations. Sometimes, they include references to politicians running for high office.

Every year, thousands of people come out -- mostly children and their parents, who line the five and a half kilometer parade route for a look.

"There's one that's like a dragon with a snake's head and fangs," said visitor Mariano.

"There's an eagle that has horns and many scales. There's another with many strange spots," said visitor Roberta.

One resident dressed as a vampire says the alebrijes also contain references to Meso-American mythical figures.

The groups that are participating in this parade took months of planning and preparation to create these bizzare creatures.

The technique is known as cartoner - a rigid papier-mache.   This group of patients with a vast array of visi problems are creating their own Alebrjes during a therapy session.

"That's why we love participating because there are no barriers, this is one great example. It's the product of our combined inspiration," said art therapist Eugenia Salas Sanchez.

Here's a look at their final creation - a sort of praying mantis, with no eyes on its large head. Mexico City's 10th annual Alebrijes Parade has a musical ending.  The fantastical, giant figures will be on display for a few more weeks in this city's main financial district. Cash prizes will go to the top three Alebrijes judged as the most creative.

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