Mudcat Café message #219687 The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #20846   Message #219687
Posted By: Amos
28-Apr-00 - 03:59 PM
Thread Name: BS: More pagan stuff
Subject: RE: BS: More pagan stuff
The Spanish Catholic conversion of Mexico was effected, among other things, by building the cathedrals and churches on the sites of the temples of main villages, and using the ancient names with Catholic appendages. One example is the small town outside of Guadalajara known as Santa maria de Tequipexpan, the temple there before being called Tequipexpan in the dominant indigenous tongue. Every year the main Catholic festival there is accompanied by a horde of blood-descendants of the displaced Indians who populated this village in the 1500s before the Spanish came. They dance in costume with traditional drums and instruments in the square outside the cathedral.

A very funny confrontation occurred there the year i was there: the Church was holding an annual multiple-weddings ceremony, which they do every year so that couples who cannot afford a separate wedding ceremony can still be properly wed. A wonderful sight -- dozens of young and poor couples in the best finery they can borrow lining up to start their lives together with proper priestly administration of oaths.

But as this ceremony was going on, the Mixtals or whatever the tribe was were drumming outside the cathedral and chanting. Their costumes were bright with feathers and beads and strings, the men were bare-chested, some were masked, and they were raising so much din that the priest had to come out and argue with the chief of the tribe -- they stood there in their respective costumes, icon-to-icon, totem-to-totem, glaring at each other.

It was a genuine 20th century confrontation between the pagan world and the Church of Rome. I nearly died watching them stare each other down. They settled it somehow, but I will always remember it as one of those moments when life imitates the best poetry.