Sunday, November 2, 2014

Dia de los Muertos: Zinacantán & Chamula

Today was a completely different day … more like what I expected … beautiful, quiet and serene. Zinacantán is a picturesque valley of flower fields and greenhouses surrounded by lush green hills. Their incredible textiles echo the flowers of their valley.


We found traditional dancers
at the center in Zinacantán

Click here for a short video of the dance.

Chamula Church
We also went to Chamula, a large village which enjoys a unique autonomous status within Mexico. No outside police or military are allowed in the village and Chamulas have their own police force. One thing they are very particular about is photography. Absolutely no photography is allowed within the church but we were allowed to enter after buying a ticket for a modest fee.

(For another point of view about all of this and
some great photos, click here.)

What we saw corresponded with the Wikipedia description although we did not see any curanderos or chickens:  
There are no pews in the church, and the floor area is completely covered in a carpet of green pine boughs and soda bottles (mostly Coca Cola). Curanderos (medicine men) diagnose medical, psychological or ‘evil-eye’ afflictions and prescribe remedies such as candles of specific colors and sizes, specific flower petals or feathers, or - in a dire situation - a live chicken. The specified remedies are brought to a healing ceremony. Chamula families kneel on the floor of the church with sacrificial items, stick candles to the floor with melted wax, drink ceremonial cups of Posh, artisanal sugar-cane-based liquor, and chant prayers in an archaic dialect of Tzotzil.

1 comment:

  1. Fascinating inför about the church.

    Beautiful array of colors in those first photos.