16 July 2008

Ritual and Dance

On Sunday, July 13, we went to El Charco Ingenio, the expansive botanical garden on the edge of San Miguel de Allende. We'd heard that there would be traditional dancing and music and a religious ritual, the Santa Cruz festival.

When we arrived about 3 p.m., we could hear the music down the hills. After a glass of fresh squeezed grapefruit juice and a slice of mushroom pizza from the juice bar at the gift shop, I headed down the path through the gardens of magnificent cacti, to find the dancers in one of several circle clearings.

People of all ages were gathered under umbrellas, mesquite and cactus--anywhere a bit of shade could be found--to watch the dancers and participate the events of the day. Food vendors sold roasted corn, fresh-cut fruits, juices, tortas and other foods from booths under bright awnings.
In the midst of the afternoon a beautiful religious ceremony, the installation of the cross, took place. A procession, led by a man playing a flute and drum, brought the cross to an altar near the plaza where the dancers paused. Prayers, incense and flowers blessed the cross, Santa Cruza, and then a dialogue ensued between two older women, apparent leaders in the community, and an older man, who was, we thought, a local politician. This dialogue seemed to be about bringing to the surface problems facing the community and establishing the intent to work together, with the help of God, to address them.

No comments: