Race of Souls


Todos Santos Cuchumatanes, located in the Sierra de los Cuchumatanes at a height of 3,100 m from the plateau in the department of Huehuetenango, near Mexico, has kept its traditions alive and the horse race of November 1 is one of them, called “cock race” or “race of souls”. 

The origin of the horse race on November 1 is ambiguous. It could be the celebration of the triumph of a group of the ” ‘Mam’ ” who took horses and escaped from the Spanish. There is also another theory indicating that this tradition could be related to the rite of soil purification, as the participants sacrifice roosters and shed their blood. Now it is not a competition; people ride for fun and tradition. 

Riders dress in feathers, ribbons on their hats; red bands across their chests and backs with large scarf covering their entire shoulder and red scarves on the tip of the sleeve of their shirts and over trousers, and they run the length of a hundred-meter track (round trip), during the whole day.