Vi la hora, ya era tiempo de volver a casa, manejaba de regreso con una sonrisa que delataba mi emoción de haber atestiguado y fotografiado algo así. Me parecía increíble estando tan cerca de San Pedro Ixtlahuaca nunca haber escuchado antes de esta peculiar celebración. Me sentía afortunado de haber estado ahí para poderles compartir esto.
Lo vuelvo a decir, redescubrir mi Estado me resulta fascinante… ¡Creo que nunca dejará de sorprenderme!.
“Do you want to hear a story?” that’s how an old man approached to me, then he starter telling me more about the San Pedro Ixtlahuaca annual feast and the traditions, in the middle of the conversation I heard a firework pretty close that made me turn, the man changed his face and told me “Are you interested or not?” I apologized and then he continued. I asked about how old that celebration was, he made a pause and told me: “You know what, I think I have some documents at home that I can show you and read more about it, but not today, maybe another day when I’m not drunk”.
He was not the only person that approached to me, there were probably some other 6 that noticed me a little bit lost trying to understand what was going on. That day (Sunday), the people started to gather at the church, the procession with the Saint figure was about to start, then the band started to play the music. A strong rain just began but people didn’t seem to care, I was trying to protect my camera moving to a secure area, then I a guy told me “Make sure you come again tomorrow, its going to be the main event day and you are going to be able to take a lot of pictures” I think he thought I wanted to leave. If it wouldn’t be because all the people told to me all those details about that feast, I might probably wouldn’t return, but after all they described (and I quickly wrote down on my notebook) I became curious, it seemed to be something quite different from all the feast I had photographed before. Two hours later and with a heavy rain, I decided it was time to go home.
The day after I drove 15 minutes and got there with my cameras ready, for that I had to skip work after lunch, I wanted to eyewitness all those things the people told me about. At the entrance there was a big ‘welcome’ arch made with flower and fruit, on a side there was an improvised chapel with some saint figures and candles.
At the middle of that place, there was a ground level stage in a circle shape with different levels seats for all the audience, bbehind it there I heard some noises, I went to check what was it and there was about 400 men in line dressed up specially for the feast, they were about to go one by one inside that ring and dance while themayordomo (the feast host) will try to throw them down with a whip!. That’s called the New cowboy dance.
After a while watching that ‘dance’ I move to another area, then I noticed one of the thing this old man told me but I thought that day he was jocking, it was the ‘punishment pole’. He told me that it is used whiplash all those who get drunk and try to assault somebody, another reason can be if you won’t obey an older person or even for wasting food. I got to make a confession, I really wanted to see someone up there, sorry, but I was curious, I wanted the live the hole experience haha.
For an instant I thought my wish was going to be granted when a dancer became very aggressive with a police man just because he wanted to keep on dancing (some said he was a little bit drunk), he slapped him really hard, some other colleagues came to help and the dancer was trying to wriggle out. Suddenly the people started to scream: ‘pole, pole’ but then the mayordomo thought it was a mayor issue so they handcuffed him and send him to the police station instead.
That dance lasted for about 4 hours, then everyone went to get food right there, the mayordomo is the one that runs with all those expenses, after they all eat, later tat day there was some bands playing. The feast lasted until Tuesday evening, of course I didn’t say until then.
I checked the hour, it was about 5:30 pm and I thought it was time to go back home, I was thinking about all this new experiences while driving, I was so amazed but at the same time I was wondering how come I never heard about this feast before even that it happens so close to Oaxaca. Any way I was lucky to eyewitness all this and to be able to share it with a lot o people.
Seem like Oaxaca is never going to stop surprising me.
|El famoso ‘palo de castigo’ · The famous ‘punishment pole’.|
Ramiro Rojas Ramírez (Policía)
Ezequiel Pacheco Audelo (Policía)
Hugo Diaz Reyes
Roberto Vázquez Reyes