A mystical place

San Juan Chamula Travel Blog

 › entry 3 of 7 › view all entries
The cemetery.

This mystical and very special little town, located about 10km. from San Cristóbal  was our second stop from the tour. It is situated in Chiapas highlands at 2,200m. inhabited by indigenous Tzotzil, whose language belongs to the Mayan languages.

This town enjoys a very particular autonomus status within México. No outside police or military are allowed in this village. Chamulas have their own police force and even rules. So they work as a town who has its own government structure rules and customs. When we got there we were advised of not  being allowed to take any photo from the town, or even  from the people, no cameras with us or we would be in trouble with the local authorities.

A sunny day in San Juan Chamula.
 Then respecting the local rules, is very important for enjoying a safe visiting there.

I have to say this is one of the times I myself have felt sort of being in a dream and mystical place. As a matter of fact I got in shock with all the things I watched there. This town is definitely a very particular one from all over México.  So we made our walking there and very soon we had the chance to watch a rite that had been holding for several days in honor of the principal chief in town who had been elected for people. So all the men were dancing and singing special songs, the olders wher just sitting on the ground looking the youngers singing and dancing.

After that,  we continued our way for visiting the principal church in honor to San Juan this is perhaps its principal attraction in the village, because of its particular prehispanic and Catholic blending  in one unique mix.

The Church of San Juan.
Whilst we were inside the church I again got in shock, because I had never been before in a church like that, the scenery  we saw was a floor with plenty of colorful candles and smoke from burning copal resin incense. Along the walls of Church are dressed-up wooden statues of Saints in large wooden cases, some of them wearing mirrors to deflect evil.  Therefore, the local form of Catholicism is a blend of preconquest Maya customs and Spanish Catholic traditions.

The floor area is completely, carpet of green pine boughs and soda bottles whilst we walked around there, we saw "curanderos" (medicine men) performing traditional medicine rites to heal  the body and spirit of other native people. Then is very common to see Chamula families kneel on the floor with different objects singing prayers in an archaic dialect of Tzotzil. Women often offers outside traditional clothing, blankets and souvernirs for visitors.

Outside the church the scenery we saw was very noisy, there were lot of men wearing black or even some of them a  black special traditional clothing which seemed to be, made of some very warm material. Most of them were drinking, singing,  or just looking at, and few of them even were drunken, there were children everywhere begging for money or selling handcrafts to all vistors so this is the first time I have seen something like that, right outside a church.

Then we finished our tour in the cemetery which by the way, was the only place we were allowed to take some photos that is the reason I  only put a photo of this place. The place is filled of lot of wood crosses everywhere, with different colors such as green, black, purple so depending on  the time people died, they choose a specific color. Unfortunately, I can not remember exactly this information. Anyway, after that we finished our visiting here and made our way back again to San Cristóbal.

  

uzmansafdar says:
interesting place!!
Posted on: Jul 25, 2011
monky says:
Hola Carlos jeje si hombre, ya ni me digas que aún esta pendiente! ya estoy retomando todo de nuevo. Saludos:)
Posted on: Feb 07, 2011
montecarlostar says:
Hola Mónica oye y el blog de tu último viaje??? Ya tenemos rato esperándolo jeje saludos!
Posted on: Feb 07, 2011
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
The cemetery.
The cemetery.
A sunny day in San Juan Chamula.
A sunny day in San Juan Chamula.
The Church of San Juan.
The Church of San Juan.
San Juan Chamula
photo by: monky