This site was probably founded in AD 100 by the Totonac culture, El Tajín means thunder, lightning, or hurricane in the Totonac language. The city reached its zenith between AD 600 and 900.
The site was abandoned around AD 1230, possibly after a fire and attacks from the Chichimecs. Quickly engulfed by the jungle, the city was rediscovered by the Spanish in 1785.
The voladores have been performing this for so long that its origin is unknown. The voladores fall backward from a 30 metres pole. The four men are hanging just by a rope around a leg, and circle 13 times around the pole. Four people do thirteen rotations, which gives a total of 52 revolutions. This number matches the number of weeks in a year, but it also has other meanings in the old pre-Hispanic calendars.
One possible interpretation of the performance is that it is a fertility rite. The four voladores make invocations to the four corners of the universe.