The 2000 year-old Los Voladores (flyers) ritual is still performed today by the Totonacs of East Central Mexico. The ritual is sacred to Quetzalcoatl, the “Feathered Serpent” culture god, whom Mexican Indians identify with Christ. Hence it is usually performed in conjunction with Christian religious events. The ritual is a visual representation of the central concepts of pre-Conquest Mexican Indian religion – and is seen by the Totonacs as central to their cultural identity.
In 2006, Ivan Aparicio, a Totonac high school student, had a vision in which God told him he must revive the ritual. Ivan asked Salvador, the old leader of the Voladores, to teach him and his friends (the “chavos”, or “kids”) the ritual.
In the ritual, after preliminary dances on the ground, five Voladores climb an 80 foot (25 meter) high pole. On the tip of the pole is a hub, through which four ropes are threaded. The hub represents Ollin, the animating energy of the Sun and of the universe. The pole represents