Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mexico - July 21st

Spent the day getting lost in the mountains near San Cristobal. Narrow roads winding their way through villages, over ridges and through valleys, and right off the map.

























The Church at San Juan Chamula

According to The Rough Guide to Mexico: "almost everyone who stays in San Cristobal visits San Juan Chamula" and it "is one of the most moving sites in Mexico". Sounds like a tourist trap to me, but it's not, it really is incredible. There are way more people using the market and church than there are tourists.

The Church. There are no pews or chairs. The stone floor is covered with fresh pine needles. Thousands, maybe tens of thousands, of candles are burning. Many of the candles are in glass jars on tables. They illuminate the statues of the saints arranged along the walls. White and yellow fresh flowers, lilies, iris, and others, fill the spaces between and around the saints. There are masses of flowers. The flowers become the wall, completely blocking the plaster work up to ten or twelve feet above the floor. There are about a dozen areas where rows of taper candles have been set up on the floor. The pine needles are brushed out of the way and up to fifty candles, in each area, are arranged in ranks, small to large, with the largest being nearest the altar. Each area is tended by an individual or a family. There are no prayers, but some people chant.

No pictures allowed, which is how it should be. Below is the exterior, and the market in the plaza.



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