Once upon a time in places far from here I was a Catholic and Michael was a Baptist. Our cultures were very different and in the Mayan world of the indigenous of Lago Atitlan the Catholic faith is doubling laden with mysticism and a link with ancient traditions. The Evangelicals think the old ways are lacking but I see them as rich, oppressive to women but doggedly holding a culture together. Young women are definitely shifting. Often they don’t wear their cortes and they wear comfortable blouses almost all the time and almost no one wears their hair in the old ways. My teacher’s daughter whines when she has to wear her corte because the faja, the sash that holds the skirt up, is too tight around her tummy. I think this generation is the last. The men already mostly wear “modern” attire and it is cheap and flooding the market.
Still, Mary follows Christ through the cobbled streets around the Catholic Church and market place in San Pedro. The little boys use up huge amounts of noisy energy spinning these wooden cracker things. Each day of Semana Santa is devoted to a different focus or group… to fertility, to the children.. always reflecting the suffering of Christ and the Love of Mary.
I like the old woman entering the church, greeted by the pope. I can’t imagine the level of devotion and the depths of traditional commitment the past and current generation have against all odds but I respect them deeply for it. My heart resonates with Love for them and respect for the beautiful traditions that bind them.