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A Fiesta to Celebrate The Other Conquest

By Jesús Aguado

The clock was striking 12 noon when the face of the sun was blocked by the moon. At the same time birds flew into the trees, dogs howled, and TELEVISA was overwhelming the nation with its messages of fear. They were warning people not to look directly at the total eclipse of the sun on Jun 11, 1991. Looking directly at the sun could make a person blind. “Do not look at the sun” was an advisory for children.

Nevertheless there are always fighters, those who take advantage of opportunities to make a difference and want to make conquest before being conquered. El Charco del Ingenio, a non-profit association, took advantage of the occasion to give back to the natives an area that was taken from them by the Spanish conquistadores. At the present time El Charco is the best preserved natural reserve that San Miguel has.

When you visit El Charco, you can see birds flying and playing in the trees and cactuses, and while walking along, you can find reptiles lying on stones taking in the sun. Following the paths, you can see rabbits running around and at the Colonias dam, migratory birds can be seen swimming. This natural paradise for flora and fauna has been possible thanks to the efforts of El Charco and the Sanmiguelense community. The fiesta is just around the corner and it will celebrate and remember the day when the Charco was first opened. The celebration will also pay tribute to the Holy Cross.

The Cross of the Conquest

Mario Hernández, the director of the organization, told Atención that when El Charco was opened in 1991, the nonprofit association invited the mayordomos (groups of people who represent rural communities and some neighborhoods and who are responsible for organizing their religious celebrations) to install a cross of the conquest at El Charco. When the Spanish conquered a territory they always put up a cross. This time the natives were conquering, recovering a place that they had lost in the past. That was how El Charco became a ceremonial site and every year the mayordomos from rural communities and neighborhoods across the city come to pay homage.

In theory, said Hernández, the original people were never conquered by the Spanish cross because, before the Spanish came, the natives had already been worshipping a cross that was divided into five sections. The top part was dedicated to the north, the sky, the earth, and Mother Nature and was represented by a cave. The lower part was dedicated to the south and to water, represented by a spiral. One of the sides of the cross-paid homage to animals, represented by a coyote. The other side-represented plants, represented by an agave. The cross as a whole was the fifth element and was represented by the sun.

“It was a very well-balanced representation of the world. The human being was not taking advantage of Mother Nature, but rather, they complemented each other, not like nowadays,” said Hernández, explaining that at El Charco there are five Stations of the Cross where offerings are placed during a procession on the Sunday of the fiesta.

Fiesta

The festivity will begin in the early morning on Sunday, July 9 at 11am with religious ceremonies at the Plaza of the Four Winds, followed by a procession that visits the five Stations of the Cross at El Charco.

On the other side of the Jardín Botánico, at Parque Landeta, food vendors will start setting up their stands and registration for the fifth pedestrian race (for men and women) will begin at 10am.

Pre-Columbian dancers will arrive at Landeta and will dance all day. There will be live music and the fiesta will end when the guapango band stops playing. It is a fiesta for everybody.

It is advisable to wear comfortable shoes, a hat, and sunscreen. Lots of enthusiasm and energy are needed. If you enter through El Charco, remember that neither food, pets, bicycles, nor motorcycles are allowed.

 

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