Erongarícuaro, Michoacán, México.
GPS: 19.5880504, -101.7209351
Every year, since 1983, the Purépechas of Michoacán celebrate the night of the 1st and the 2nd of February the new year, with the lighting ceremony of the New Fire, which goes back to the pre-Hispanic period.
According to the Purépecha calendar, the year consists of 18 months of 20 days and starts on these dates. The ritual is carried out each time in a different town, which receives the Old Fire from the community that guarded it during the previous year, and lights the New Fire that remains under its shelter until it is delivered to the next headquarters.
The Purépecha New Year celebration, which ceased to take place since the Conquest, was rescued from pre-Hispanic history by a group of Purépecha intellectuals and social fighters in 1983 with the intention of recovering their roots, their traditions and reassessing the identity of their village.
Between the night of day 1 and the dawn of February 2, the stars of the constellation of Orion are placed at their highest point. This is the sign that the time had come to offer Kurhíkuaeri, the god of the Sun and fire.
The first time was held in Tzintzuntzan, and since then it has been held every year, being an important element for the strengthening and cohesion of the Purépecha people.
“Even though the New Fire ceremony is the most representative of this indigenous people, it is one of reflection, not religious or political. Some of the objectives are to rescue the collective memory and all those cultural elements of the past, such as the ancient purépecha tradition of transmitting orally the knowledge from one generation to another, “says Patricia Terán Escobar, a researcher at the National Institute of Anthropology and History ( INAH).