Sunday, March 06, 2011

Our Lord of the Conquest

El Señor de la Conquista . . . . One of the things that facinate me about Mexico is how religion, culture, history and government are mixed. The first Friday in March is what I consider an example but I'm not going to try to explain it because I can't quite figure it out myself. It is one of those things that I recognize as being very different from the USA but it would take a lot of time and study to begin to understand.

Friday the streets filled up with concheros or dancers in elaborate costumes that are inspired by the civilizations that the 16th century Spaniards conquered and converted to Christianity. My friend Jim Quinn made a movie that will give you an idea of what I'm talking about.

By the time we went in to the centro about dusk there were at least two dance troups on each side of the jardin. The roar of the drums was enough to deafen you and maybe even get your heartbeat out of kelter. If you have been to a drumming, multiply that by eight and you will have an idea of what was happening.

At some time during the day each group of the concheros had banners and altars that they carried into the church to be blessed and to also honor El Señor. While I love the excitement of the dances and the costumes, these altars and crosses amaze the puritan in me. The sky had changed from dusk to dark when I made this picture of a cross right outside the entry to the Parroquia.


Bob Mrotek said...

Someday when you are baking bread and you invite me to one of your wonderful suppers we will talk about the war of the conquest. By Vatican decree the Spaniards were charged with the responsibility to convert the native peoples which they tried to do mostly by force of arms but didn't make much headway until the really smart Jesuit missionaries came and learned the native languages so that they could communicate effectively. Then the Franciscans, Dominicans, Carmelites, and Augustinians could take over and the Spaniards eventually kicked out the Jesuits.

Billie said...

Bob, I've read about the history of the conquest but the way the church relates to the culture facinates me. And this is tangled in the very nationalism that the Mexican people feel about their country and how they reconcile that with the conquest by the Spaniards. The very different separation of Church and State in Mexico than that in the USA.

Bob Mrotek said...

Does that mean that I failed to wrangle an invitation to supper :(

Billie said...

LOL, After I hit send on my comment I started to write another comment to tell you that you were welcome for dinner anyway. You are invited. Just give me some warning when you are going to show up. Still LOL

Jonna said...

That ability to love the conquered within along with the conquerer within - it's a tightrope dance that Mexicans do very well. Beautiful picture Billie.

alcuban said...

I've never been able to figure out the Lord of the Conquest celebration. Are Mexicans celebrating the conquest, which killed millions?

al lanier

Dotye said...

Hi Billie,
I loved this blog and can't wait to see what you have to say about the celebration? or quietness? starting today on Ash Wednesday. Don't forget to get your ashes...don't eat meat and be sure to fast...only one regular meal and 2 small ones...This is not a Holy Day of Obligation but I think of it as a Holy Day of Opportunity to get ready for the blessed Lenten Season which ends with the wonderful Easter Morning of our risen Lord!...okay enough of my preaching...just keep me educated about the great goings on in your "home town". Peace, dotye