Here are scenes from another Tzotzil village called Zinacatan. They speak the same language as the CHAMULANS, but there are many differences in culture. Men take only 1 wife here, their church is still in good standing with the Vatican and resembles a traditional Catholic church slightly more. It has pews, there are no healing chicken sacrifices performed by shaman, no candles melting into the floor, no pine needles covering the floor and no Zinacantecans inside. Their religious statues are adorned with thousands of flowers which cover every inch of the statues except the face and parts of the body. Bright & beautiful. Although their brand of Catholicism is more closely aligned with church teachings they are polytheistic like the Chamulans. and of course no cameras allowed inside.
The 2 indigenous groups are cordial to each other and occasionally there is intermarrying.
As in San Juan Chamula, our guide took us into a home where we got a better picture of daily life. We saw women weaving cloth, making tortillas, tending fires.
I loved seeing evidence of ordinary life being lived. Here, as in Moss Cottage, there are dishes to be washed.
The Zinacantecan women wear completely different clothing. different colors, and no black furry skirts. Theirs are made of cotton. Both groups of women NEVER cut their hair. I saw many women with large buns nearly on their foreheads. They wear it this way after it is washed so their backs don't get wet or cold.
I spied this gorgeous handmade shawl casually tossed over a clothesline. These are part of the womens' daily dress when they leave their houses. A trained eye can tell which tribe of indigenous people the women belong to by noting their clothing. Cesar told us that this sameness in dress keeps the tribal identity intact. There is a sense that everyone belongs to one another. What is done to one is done to all. Members of both groups are expelled from the community if they join one of the Mormon, Jehovah Witness, or Protestant churches which come to this area to evangelize.
The men of both groups of indigenous Tzotzil also wear different clothes. The hat below is worn by men.
Here in Zinacatan I saw many greenhouses spread across their small valley. They grow many flowers both for income and rituals.
"Thus, the Tzotzil town of Zinacantan is surrounded by seven 'bathing places' of mountain-dwelling ancestors, with one of these sacred waterholes serving as the residence of the ancestors' 'nursemaids and laundresses'.As in the pre-Hispanic past, an important part of ritual takes place in or near such landmarks, in Yucatán also around karstic sinkholes (cenotes)."
I am so deeply fascinated by what I am learning. I want to devour every book ( there are so many!) in my casita on Mayan culture when I arrive home for my mid-day siesta.
Other worlds. Other lives.
Cesar, our guide pointed out that polytheistic people are much more tolerant of people's differences than monotheistic. He was referring to all of the evangelizers who have come into Chiapas, both past and present, with intentions of knocking some religious sense into the indigenous people. He also shared that many fundamentalist christian groups continue to come to these areas to "help", but it seems like many have an agenda related to CHANGING those pesky & resistant Mayan beliefs.
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