I've never seen anything quite like the interior of the temple at San Juan Chamula. The Tzotzil people live in this town, and worship John the Baptist rather than Jesus Christ. They practice strange rituals in the temple, such as rubbing people with eggs and eating food that induces burping to let out evil spirits. We found none of that going on, but it was a surreal place nonetheless, with thousands of candles along the walls, pine needles under our feet, priests dressed in white robes, people chanting and praying, and a Christmas tree with fairy lights playing Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.
Women wander the town in traditional dress that includes black fluffy skirts made from animal fur; but residents are wary of outsiders, so cameras must stay out of sight. No less than a quarter Chiapas State's residents are indigenous and have their own cultures and languages. Villages such as this are very resistant to change, and the whole region is a political hot spot, with women and kids attempting to block roads and charge tolls. Most vehicles just drive straight over their rope!
The limited time we had here was cut even shorter by the tradition of seeing in another year. The stroke of midnight was a lively affair at the plaza, with many sparklers and a barage of fireworks coming from all directions, including from kids in the crowd. Didn't I already mention health and safety in the last post? At least wre saw in this New Year with a very big bang - I don't think there is any limit on decibels here!