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MATACHINES (Span, matachin, down, or masked dancer), bands of mummers or itinerant players in Mexico, especially popular around the Rio Grande, who wander from village to village during Lent, playing in rough-and-ready style a set drama based on the history of Montezuma. Dressed in fantastic Indian costumes and carrying rattles as their orchestra, the chief characters are El Monarca " the monarch " ( Montezuma); Malinche, or Malintzin, the Indian mistress of Hernando Cortes; El Toro, " the bull," the malevolent " comic man " of the play, dressed in buffalo skin with the animal's horns on his head; Agudo, the " grandfather," and Aguela, " grandmother." With the help of a chorus of dancers they portray the desertion of his people by Montezuma, the luring of him back by the wiles and smiles of Malinche, the final reunion of king and people, and the killing of El Toro, who is supposed to have made all the mischief.

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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