Fiestas in San Juan Chamula

Fiestas in San Juan Chamula

Wild west cowboy hats, knee length tunics of white or black lamb’s wool, and hands inside tunics at chest height all distinguish the Tzotzil community of San Juan Chamula from its neighbor Zinacantan in the valley next door. I call it a cowboy town, a bit rough and ready for action.   The church in the center of town is what draws most visitors to Chamula. It’s here that Maya beliefs and traditions prevail over Christian practices. Statues of Catholic saints clothed in layers of heavily embroidered Maya textiles carry mirrors around their necks. Some say...
The Flowers of Zinacantan

The Flowers of Zinacantan

San Lorenzo Zinacantan lies below the high road that sweeps down into the valley. When I first saw the tops of the long white greenhouses, I wondered where the flowers traveled to from this little place in the clouds. Now I know that flowers under plastic just begin to describe the role that nature plays in the life of this Tzotzil community, only thirty minutes from La Joya Hotel in San Cristóbal de Las Casas. The people of Zinacantan embrace their passion for flowers in their clothing and in their churches and cemeteries. Walking in the town during a fiesta is...