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Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History
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Carnival scene

A scene from the Carnival festival of the Huastecan Nahuas. February 1993. Huautla, Hidalgo, Mexico.

TZOTZILES

Around June 24, the Tzotziles of San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, honor their patron saint, St. John the Baptist. They regard this saint as their benefactor and, like other Catholic saints, as a helper of the Sun and Moon. They associate these celestial bodies with Indigenous male and female deities as well as the Christian God and the Virgin Mary. Dramatic displays of homemade fireworks are a highlight of their festival, which also involves processions, prayers, feasting, and dances. In one event, men disguised as bulls run around the church plaza, showering sparks and clouds of acrid smoke.

 

TZOTZILES

Alrededor del 24 de junio, los tzotziles de San Juan Chamula, Chiapas, celebran a su santo patrono, San Juan Bautista. Lo consideran su benefactor y al igual que a otros santos católicos, un ayudante del sol y de la luna. Asocian a estos cuerpos celestes tanto con deidades indígenas masculinas y femeninas como con el Dios cristiano y la Virgen María. Las espectaculares exhibiciones de fuegos artificiales que ellos mismos fabrican, son el punto culminante del festival, que también incluye procesiones, oraciones, comidas y danzas. En uno de los eventos, hombres disfrazados de toros corren afuera de la iglesia, echando chispas y humo.

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Tzotziles
Festival of the Birth of St. John the Baptist
click for large image

Tzotziles
Festival of the Birth of St. John the Baptist
click for large image

Tzotziles
Festival of the Birth of St. John the Baptist
click for large image

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