There is a church in San Juan de Chamula, that looks like a standard Catholic Church. Yet… it is FORBIDDEN to take any pictures inside. It is said if you are caught taking a picture inside, local rules will apply and we might not see you soon as it seems you will end up in prison or we will never see you again. Myth? reality? I did not dare finding it out. The Mexican police and military are not allowed in this town.
Peculiar rituals happen inside. They involve saints, moonshine, and… animal sacrifice.
When you get inside, it smells incense and there are candles melted in wax and smoke everywhere. You walk on pine needles which are all over the floor. There are statues of Catholic saints representing Mayan gods, and some look like vampires… they have mirrors hanging on their neck so that people can see their faces while confessing. Locals drink coca cola in shot glasses as it makes you burp, and it is believed burping chases away evil spirits.They kneel on the ground and perform rituals involving mostly live chicken and chicken eggs.
It is overwhelming to see this exists in a little village just outside San Cristobal de las Casas in Chiapas Mexico, and in the 21st century.
If you are sensitive, do NOT go and watch the practices of the indigenous Tzotzil culture in San Juan de Chamula. It is a unique experience though, that will mark your mind forever.
My pictures of San Juan de Chamula:
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