Patzcuaro Travel Guide
We didn't do so well at college Spanish, however, our guess is Purepecha Pelota de Fuego means "fireball field hockey", or something similar.
During this ancient game, a volleyball made of bound rags is doused in diesel fuel and set aflame, while players try to swat the ball into goals, using a stick or a cane. Oh, and did we mention that a foot long flame trails the ball through the air?
This game is played today in a central Mexico that was the historic capital of the Purepucha empire, a civilization that rivaled the Aztecs when the Spanish first set foot in the New World.
This high stakes game isn't just for brave locals, at Hacienda Mariposas, tourists can join in the weekly hotel staff flame ball game.
Rene Ocaña, the hotel owner and a retired attorney from California, said the game fits in with his efforts to promote the culture of Michoacan state. He says that is why he doesn't put televisions in the rooms, so the guests get out and learn about such marvels.
Ocaña encourages his guests to jump in and play the fireball game. He says the staff doesn't worry about going up in flames, because their embroidered cotton pants are hard to ignite.
Hope you have travelers insurance.
· A Fiery Ritual [Sun-Sentinel]