Sunday, 12 July 2015

chamula indigenous village

Chamula, a large indigenous village or pueblo near San Cristobal de las Casas is known for it's crazy (in the nicest possible way) mix and clash of Christian and traditional religion in it's beautiful church. To go inside the church is a breathtakingly beautiful experience.  When I was there it was decked with an abundance of beautiful white flowers, the floor was strewn with pine branches, copal incense saturated the air and zillions of candles were burning which lit the whole place up.  

At first glance it would appear that people were praying to the Catholic Saints but it turns out the pictures are there to represent ancestors!  There are three 'negatives' that have been demoted to the back of the church: a depiction of hell, the cross and the baptism font.   Apparently the worshippers now accept baptism but not mass.  Photography is forbidden inside the church, which further adds to the mystique. I am not sure it would be possible to capture the ambience there anyway.

I was just as fascinated by the sheep and wool at Chamula.   Sheep were introduced to Mexico through the Spanish conquest.  People in the colder highland regions began making clothes from wool at this time.  In Chamula the women wear amazing thick wool skirts which they make from the wool of these black sheep.  The sheep are never killed for meat but are sheared carefully and kindly. They also knit cardigans and jackets from the wool, which still naturally smell of the lanolin.

No comments:

Post a Comment