In a customary ceremony meant to bring prosperity to his people, the mayor of a tiny town in southern Mexico wed a female reptile while bystanders cheered and danced.

In reenacting an ancestral tradition, Victor Hugo Sosa, the mayor of San Pedro Huamelula, a village of Indigenous Chontal people in the Tehuantepec isthmus of Mexico, chose Alicia Adriana, a reptilian creature, as his bride. The reptile is a caiman, a marsh creature that is native to Mexico and Central America and resembles an alligator. Sosa vowed to stay faithful to what local myths call “the princess girl.”

“I accept responsibility because we love each other. That is what is important. You can’t have a marriage without love… I yield to marriage with the princess girl,” Said Sosa.

Since 230 years ago, a male and female caiman have been married to mark the occasion when two Indigenous communities were united in marriage and achieved peace. According to tradition, conflicts were resolved when a Chontal king, represented in modern times by the mayor, wed a princess girl of the Huave Indigenous group, symbolized by the female alligator.

The caiman is moved from home to home before the wedding so that the residents can dance with her while she is in their arms. The alligator is decorated with a green skirt, a vibrant hand-embroidered tunic, and a ribbon and sequin headpiece. To prevent any pre-marriage catastrophes, the creature’s snout is tied shut. She is then dressed as a white bride and brought to town hall for the wedding.

Joel Vasquez, a local fisherman, throws his net as part of the ceremony while reciting the community’s wishes that the union will result in “good fishing, so that there is prosperity, balance, and ways to live in peace.” Following the ceremony, the mayor and his bride dance to traditional music. The mayor kisses the “princess girl” on the snout as the dance comes to a close.

 

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