Where's Tai?

"And I still haven't found what I'm looking for"

Day 16: San Cristobal and Chamula March 15, 2006

Filed under: Travelling — Tai @ 3:27 am


Up early with a small headache to catch a trip to Chamula.  One of the most traditional villages in the area.  The people still wear traditional clothes and many still live in traditional houses.  Only 20% of them speak Spanish the rest only speak their tribal language.  In the church they still sacrifice chickens to the sun god and other gods for healing and to give energy to the sun and other gods.  It appeared like a normal church on the outside, inside the whole place was filled with candles, pine needles (which ensured a separation between the living world and the underworld, a white area in the middle which was the centre of the church (ceiba tree), bottles of coke, chickens and people dresed in the traditional clothes all over the place.  They had the Christian sants on one side with flowers and dress in cloaks.  The big cross at the end, but the rest was Mayan.  (No photos were allowed of the inside of the church or of the local people – they still believe that the cameras take their spirits).

They have a church but believe more in the Mayan gods and have formed a type of fusion religion.  They have crosses, but the are not christian they are from the ceiba tree which is considered the force that separated the earth and the sky in the beginning.  Very interesting because in Maori mythology it was the God of the forest that separated the Sky and earth.  The Sun god is the most important for them and alot of their basic belief revolves around the Sun god rising in the morning and setting in the evening to travel throu the underworld.  The Sun god give energy to the people and so they return this energy in different ceremonies.  For healing people physically or spiritually or for paying tribute to teh gods they use candles, soft drinks, alcohol, eggs and a living sacrifice (now it is chickens, but before it included humans).  These things provided heat and energy which the worshippers was trying to return energy to the Gods (especially the Sun God).  Sometime the more higher ranked people would cut themselves in the tongue, ear, veins and drop the blood on pine needles which would be burnt to pass the energy to the sun God so he had strength to make it thru the underworld and return the next day.

Myana belief is also based on duality: light/dark, good/bad, male/female, sun rises/sun sets.  And there churches are configured to have a positive side and a bad side.  On the bad side in this church, there were 3 elements that signified bad things.  A dark painting of the underworld.  A Christian cross that for them signifies the death of Christ and a baptism fountain.  When babies are born they are consider “monkey men” until they are baptised.  Then they become normal human.  The Baptism fountain takes the evil spirits away from the baby.  Therefore it is considered bad.

The Mayan world was created by 3 artists (gods) – a painter, a sculptor and a modeler.  They first made fire… They made various version of men from clay, wood and other materials.  The 4th generation is the people of today.  They were different because they started to worship and pay tribute to the gods.  Therefore to punish the other generations that didnt worship them, the gods created a huge flood to kill them all.  The only ones to escape were some men from the 3rd generation which they called the monkey men because they climbed talls trees to avoid the flood.

A bit of Mayan history for you. 

We then visited a place where they were doing traditional weaving and they showed us how they cooked and traditional clothing.

Rest of the day spent walking around San Cristobal seeing the local markets and the villagers.  Is very pretty, all the builings are different colours.


2 Responses to “Day 16: San Cristobal and Chamula”

  1. Alf Says:

    Hola Colega!
    Parece que estas primeras fases del viaje están siendo muy gratificantes!
    …Ya han pasado 15 días?!?!?
    Cuidate mucho!

  2. Coco Says:

    Hello possum,

    yes, can´t believe that 15 days have gone past. God everything looks great and a lot of interesting stories. That’s great you met up with so many people. I’m sure the headache was hard to get over the next day.
    have a look at the email I sent to you about your card. I suppose it would be hard for you to find a place where they’ve got internet. look after yourself and keep writing all these great stories!

    love coco

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