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Published: August 24th 2007
Maya Cross in Chamula
The Maya cross is a bit different than the Christian cross. Every home has a Maya cross as well, whether it be small or large. This marks the entrance to the home. Marriages, births and services for the dead are also held here, not in the church. Only baptisms are held in the church and not that often.
After recovering as much as I could, we finally went on the tour we had booked days before. They tour agency was very understanding in letting us postpone due to my illness. This tour was to the local villages of San Juan Chamula and San Lorenzo Zinacantan, both part of the Tzotzil group. Chamula is approx. 10km from San Cristobal and Zinacantan is approx. 11km. Chamula was our first stop followed by Zinacantan.
This is one place that we can honestly say that you have to see it to believe it. We have done our best to include interesting information in the captions with the photos. If you are in Chiapas, this is one tour you can't miss. It is best to go with a tour as well. We don't feel solo tourists are very welcomed here as these people still live by very traditional Mayan ways. They religious practices are very unique, to say the least, and to some Catholics they are very disturbing, according to our guide.
As you walk into the church, the scene inside literally takes your breath away. It is something most people have never seen inside of a church before. As mentioned, it
Chamula Religious Authority Home
This home is easily recognized in Chamula because the religious authorities live here. It is marked by the pine needle arch at the entrance. Every man during a period of time in his life becomes one of these. They save their money throughout their life for this position as well. They need to money not to become one, but to carry out the duties and rituals for the village. These men are easily recognized in the community as well. They wear a black sleeveless tunic or shall with a hat with colorful ribbons . The rest of the men can literally wear whatever they want, including jeans, but the women have to dress in the typical black or brown wool skirt and handmade blouse.
is quite difficult to explain.
Inside the church, as mentioned in the caption of the photo, hundreds of candles flicker. Each color of the candle represents something different and is lit to heal. There is no where to sit except on the floor of the church. Pine needles cover the floor of the church. These pine needles separate them from the ground making it a very sacred place. They have two sides of the church, the positive and negative. There are only a few windows in the church and they are on the same side, representing the positive side. The Christian cross is on the negative side and is not decorated with anything.
While they practice their traditional ways, they have, in fact, accepted the modern things as well. Many of these people use cell phones. We are always so interested as we see them on the cell phone and hearing them speak in their dialect.
We were completely fascinated on this tour!
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