Situated in the famous and colorful town of Bokobá, you can see a pair of chairs bathed in yellow. You have probably seen similar chairs in parks all over Yucatán, and have asked yourself, “what is the name of this chair?” and “what is its story?” Here is the story: why they are such a traditional Yucatecan expression, and so very representative of February, the month of love and friendship.
These chairs have various names: “Confidentes” (confidant), “Tú y Yo” (you and me), “De los Enamorados” (for those in love) and in more technical terms “Sillas Binarias” (binary chairs). A popular local legend tells the story of a man who had a daughter he adored who was being courted by a young man of the village. The father, jealous, asked them as a condition of their courtship that they only venture as far as the benches in the park. They accepted, but the father then realized that the traditional park bench gave them plenty of opportunity to physically close to each other, so he decided to create the “silla tú y yo”, which allowed them to speak to each other and look into each other’s eyes while always maintaining a discreet distance.
However, in spite of this story, historical context tells us that the chairs were installed in the “Plaza de la Independencia” or “ Plaza Grande” of Mérida when it was remodeled in 1915. The then governor of Yucatán, General Salvador Alvarado, placed a central octagonal platform in the plaza along with other new designs, including a few pairs of these chairs.
It is thought that their form and design are inspired by the “butacas confidentes” (confidant armchairs) from the French Renaissance period; a sense of abundance dominated everything and royalty used the most exquisite objects of design. These armchairs were a type of interior furniture designed for intimate conversation; they are very similar to the “sillas tú y yo”.
Today you can find these chairs all over the parks of the historic Centro of Mérida. On your next visit to our city, don’t forget to enjoy them in the parks and on Paseo de Montejo, to rest and to take a few “selfies” while chatting with a friend or your partner; they are an ideal way to be transported to a romantic and personal space.
By María Del Carmen Mendoza R. with the collaboration of Jerónimo Ledesma, Coordinador de Subdirección de Turismo, Ayuntamiento de Mérida
You have probably seen similar chairs in parks all over Yucatán.
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