Celebration of El Guancasco in Honduras
The wars and lawsuits between Lenca communities in pre-Columbian and colonial times were part of the search for hegemony between caciques and lordships, the only way to settle their differences was through an agreement represented in a dance called El Guancasco.
The Guancasco is a dance between peoples as a symbol of peace and encounter between two communities, which is performed as a fraternal way of promoting communion. The ritual that is carried out with ceremonial masks in the town square, between shawms, drums, shouts, food and drink are provided to the residents of the community in which El Guancasco takes place.
The Guancasco is similar to the representations between Moors and Christians in Spain.
After the colonial era, the Lencas enriched Guancasco with religion, where in addition to a peace agreement between communities, it became a thank you to God, and a celebration of patrons among the peoples involved.
The religious, social and political syncretism of Guancasco has lasted through time, and in the XXI century, this practice remains in force. Towns such as Gracias and Mexicapa in the department of Lempira have promoted this custom and every year between December and January, solidarity and brotherhood are part of the encounter between both communities.
Salvador E. Echigoyen, head of information for the Honduran Institute of Tourism, commented that Guancasco creates a space for exchange and communication between two communities, reaffirming year after year the ties of brotherhood between these peoples.
Composition of the Guancasco
In the first instance, the mayordomo of one of the towns extends an invitation to celebrate a party, then a banquet is held in which they eat stew (pork with vegetables), later they bring a delicacy with bread, chocolate, and finally , the honored people lead a dance (Guancasco) as a sign of gratitude.
The Guancasco is made up of a group of dancers of approximately 21 people, they make up two rows of 7 people, called “dancers”, 4 “blacks”, a mayor, and a butler.
The act lasts about 25 minutes, in which they thank the saint (a), and patron (na) for the harvest, and the good relations between the peoples involved.
Clothing used in the Guancasco
- Monarch: He wears white pants, a white shirt and a red band (hierarchy and power).
- Dancers: They dress in typical Western clothing (ocher grated shirt) adorned with a crown and mirrors, necklaces. The crown signifies leadership.
- Blacks: They dress in a black jacket and black pants.
Parts of the Guancasco:
- Alabado (Celebration with song to the feast of the patron or saint)
- Couples (They make a ritual representing the two communities)
- Trapiche or chain (Representation of the unit)
- Zip zap with the group.
- The powder (Give blacks squeaks, as a symbol of forgiveness)
Communities where they perform El Guancasco
- Guancasco between Ilama and Gualala (Gualala, Santa Barbara)
- Guancasco between Gracias and Mexicapa (Thanks, Lempira)
- Guancasco between Erandique and its villages.
- Guancasco between Ojojona-Lepaterique (Francisco Morazán)
- Guancasco between Ilama, Gualala-Chinda (Santa Barbara)
- Guancasco between Lejamaní and Comayagüela (Francisco Morazán)
- Guancasco between La Campa, Belén (Baile del Garrobo) (Lempira)
April (Holy Week)
- Friday of Sorrows: Guancasco between Taulabé and Jaitique (Comayagua)
- Guancasco between Villa de San Antonio and Yarumela (Villa de San Antonio, Comayagua)
- Guancasco between Lepaterique and Ojojona (Francisco Morazán)
- Guancasco between Texiguat and Liure (El Paraíso)
- Guancasco between Gracias and Mexicapa
- Guancasco between Yamaranguila and San Francisco de Opalaca (Intibucá)
- Guancasco between Lejamaní and La Cuesta (Comayagua)