The magic of San Juan Chamula

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In the state of Chiapas, with more than 2200 meters high and only a dozen kilometers from San Cristobal de las Casas, is the municipality of San Juan Chamula. The people of San Juan Chamula are the descendants of the Mayas, and still retain their original language, Tzotzil. Note that in Chiapas, many Indians still live maintaining the traditions and culture that has been passed from generation to generation.

The most special places in San Juan Chamula

Photography by anjci

Church of San Juan Chamula:

One of the most special places in San Juan Chamula is the church, one of the most esoteric was possibly in the world, fusing the ancient Maya traditions and the Christian religion was imposed from the XVI century.

In this church where it is forbidden to take pictures you can see lots of differences when compared with any church XVI-XVII century. The colonial-style church, no banks, and instead there is grass or straw on the floor and walls (both right and left) placed a number of saints with a great sense of community of believers and dresses with the best clothes, some with more than 300 years. Without an altar set, you can see many believers praying to a saint, with many candles around and drinking posh, which is a typical alcoholic drink of San Juan Chamula that comes from fermenting corn, mixed with soft drinks (coca- cola, sprite, fanta, etc.) to burp and get in touch with the spirits of the saints. A full detail of this amazing church has its reason, so if you come to visit this place we suggest that a guide will explain the history of this mysterious church.

The magic of San Juan Chamula

Photography by stevendepolo

San Juan Chamula Cemetery:

Another magical place in San Juan Chamula is the cemetery, where you can see lots of crosses of different colors represent who are buried in the cemetery, if they are children, seniors, young people or women depending on the crosses this range of colors.

Although the crossings are seen in many parts of San Juan Chamula, it is said that these crosses Mayas were in San Juan Chamula before the arrival of Spanish conquistadors. So the Mayan cross has nothing to do with the Christian cross, and has even been said that much earlier. One of the representations of the Mayan cross found in Palenque,  in the sarcophagus of King Pacal. And the Mayan cross represents the cosmic tree or the tree of life (cedar or corn plant) and the axis mundi or cosmic. According to the Maya, the first day of humanity the stars of heaven formed a cross, which according to legend will be the last day of the cycle in which we live (said to be the December 21, 2012) . But the matter and write more later …

San Juan Chamula

Photography by andresmh

San Juan Chamula Market:

In front of the church of San Juan Chamula establishing a market on Sundays where you can find everything from textiles to local fruits and many people in the vicinity of San Juan Chamula, some of which is forbidden to photograph. Normally the heads or “political” in the area are dressed in white, with hats. San Juan Chamula walking by can see the houses decorated their doors with semi circles of flowers, home to the rulers of the area. It should be noted that many traditional local fabrics, begin to be replaced by the shrewd merchants fabrics from China.

An option to go to San Juan Chamula is to hire the tour with a travel agency in San Cristobal de las Casas. Normally you will visit a “factory” primitive Zinacatán tissue, a town close to San Juan Chamula, where they will teach you how to make handwoven and in addition you can buy.

Bon voyage!

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