An Areyto (or Areito) is a ceremonial dance that is the tradition of the
Taino people, the native people who greeted Columbus on his voyage to the new
world. The Tainos people lived in what is today Puerto Rico, Cuba, Jamaica,
Haiti/Dominican Republic, and the Bahamas, as the islands are known today.
Today, Taino descendants continue this tradition. Areytos, in their most
traditional form, take place on a ceremonial court called a Batey and often
mark or celebrate specific events. They are accompanied by
music played on Mayohuacan (a skinless drum made from a hollowed-out tree
trunk, bajio (flute), maracas, conch shell horns, and call-and-response style
songs led by a Tekina. The Tekina, the leader of the Areyto, directs
the dance through repeated steps that the dancers follow, men and women
each in their own line. The songs sung at Areytos are oral transmission
of history, knowledge, and tradition. The Taino people are the first root
of Puerto Rico. When you consider that Areytos can last for many days,
it's no wonder there is so much joy in the Puerto Rican people.
The Concilio Taino Guatu Ma Cu A Boriken. Used with Permission.
Bartolome de Las Casas, "Brief Account of the Devastation of the Indies (1542)". Penguin Classics, 1999.
Fray Ramon Pane, "An Account of the Antiquities of the Indians", Duke University Press, Durham & London 1999.
An Interview On the Taino DNA testing in Puerto Rico Of Juan Carlos
Martinez, Delaware Review of Latin American Studies, August 15, 2000.
Additional Taino Research references.
For more information:
Dr. Ana María Tekina-eirú Maynard
Puerto Rican Cultural Center
Cultural Center Address: 701 Tillery Street #13, Austin TX 78702-3738 (Map & Directions)
Mailing Address: 15228 Quiet Pond Court, Austin TX 78728-4555
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