Chamula

Trip Start Jun 11, 2005
1
24
33
Trip End Sep 01, 2005


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Flag of Mexico  ,
Wednesday, August 3, 2005

Chamula is a small town near San Cristobal. It's much less touristed and has a classic Maya feel about it. The church in town is anything but classic. I've never seen anything like it. It's this incredibly interesting synthesis of Christian and traditional Mayan religion.

The church has no pews. It has grass all over the stone floors and there are dozens of alters lining the walls. Each altar is dedicated to a different saint. The local priest is only allowed into the church once a month to perform baptisms. Jesus is believed never to have risen and resides in a coffin. John the Baptist is considered the most important figure in this religion and he holds the central position in the main sanctuary. There are hundreds of candles burning all around - on alters and all over the floor. The native language dominates the city, and Spanish is rarely spoken. Chanting and prayers echo through the building.

If you get caught taking pictures in the church they escort you out and scream horrible things at you. I'm pretty sure they curse you as well. I'm also pretty sure I'm not allowed back in the city until all the current inhabitants have died.
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