Friday, March 21, 2008

Semana Santa-Equinox

Semana Santa is the Name for Easter week in Latin America. Included in this week are ceremonies for the last days of Christ's life, the Crucifixion and Resurrection, as well as the end of Lent. Some people question whether Jesus as a historical person ever existed? Some suggest that religions came from mythic stories of birth, death, and rebirth of the sun. That Jesus represents a sacrificial king whom is connected with the sun as a dying and reviving god and its connection to the regeneration of the earth in springtime. Regardless, Christian churches were built on top Inca holy places, which in turn were built on top of the sacred spots of the Quicha´s. The myth that Latin America was NOT very densely populated for instance has now been shown be untrue, with just one example being that the Amazonian rainforrest was extensively cultivated for agricultural purposes and populated by a large number of people. This just goes to show that what we assume to be true is NOT always the case. Pictured to the left is a woman of Quichua descent selling fried bananas out on the street. Throughout Quito you will find lots of Quichua´s selling all manner of food items including an amazing array of fruits and vegatables. They live simple lives and continue to provide a powerful example of humility and kindness.

These 2 shots below taken on June 21´st are of the procession in Quito where the Old City was closed to cars and many, many thousands of people witnessed these folks in hooded blue and purple costumes called "cururuchos" along with multiple Jesus´s characters dragging crosses throughout the street.

Fonesca is the customary soup made only during the week of Semana Santa. Twelve grains are used in the soup to symbolize the 12 disciples. The lady in red sitting next to me is my teacher Carmen. I made everyone laugh and, me blush, when I said, talking about the peppers in the soup, "Estoy Calliente!", which literally translated means "I´m Hot" with sexual connotations. Learning a new language is filled with such moments.
After the meal at school, I took some of my fellow students over to my former home, Hostal Centro Del After the meal at school, I took some Mundo. My housemate Josh and fellow classmate Ben went up the El Panecillo
Living as we do in the New World, indigenous people such as the Quichua indians of Ecuador give us an opportunity to change course and treat the earth as sacred. It is NOT too late. In this modern world pollution of our bodies and the earth have reached epidemic proportions. Cancer being just one of many indicators of a massively contanminated environment. The Global Justice movement has documented how the health effects of industrial pollution disproportionately burden communities of color such as our Quichua friend shown above.
"A "green" religious movement is indeed beginning to grow. But people of faith can also address the environmental crisis another way: by celebrating. Australian environmentalist John Seed says, "I believe that loss of the ceremonies that acknowledge and nurture our interconnectedness with nature is a large part of the problem. We modern humans are the only ones— as far as I can tell— who have ever attempted to live without these rituals as an integral part of our lives." Among the holidays we observe each year, only Earth Day and Arbor Day honor the natural world. Both are worthy occasions, deserving of full "legal holiday" status, in my opinion, but clearly secular ones. Since 1995, "Earthlings" in Atlanta have been reclaiming the Equinoxes and Solstices as religious occasions. Four times a year, Atlanta's interfaith community is invited to come together to remember that the Earth is sacred, and celebrate the "birthday" of another season. Because the Solstices and Equinoxes existed before people did, they belong to all human traditions and therefore to none— fitting occasions to set aside our differences and pray and celebrate together.
These festive events have a serious intent: to remind city folks that whatever our beliefs, we all depend on nature for food, water, air, and Life itself, just as our ancestors did and our descendants will. It may be the one thing that people of all religions and no religion at all have in common. We call the entire spectrum of faiths together publicly because of the tradition of gratitude they share— and because what they share is just as important as each faith's uniqueness. Especially now, when the ethical discipline of religion is so desperately needed, we come together as members of Earth's spiritual community to say: Life is a miracle. Gratitude to the Creator is respect for Creation. Respect for Creation is essential to our children's future, as gratitude to the Creator is the essence of a spiritual life."
I think the family that I am living with heartily agree with what I quoted above, taken from the net". Estela is the mother of the clan and had 10 children. Two of her daughters, Amelia and Eulalia are shown here. The ten kids had 20 and the 20 had 40. Yes you read that correctly, Estela has 40 grandchildren. They have opened up their house to me and made me feel like a member of the family. Truly there is hope when love is around.


Michael Ellis said...

HI Peace Mechanic:

Nice to see you are in my stomping grounds - equator. We missed you at the DH Meeting last night. Kali and I took level III this weekend..great stuff. I am off to Bhutan soon.

love, AGAMA

don peck said...

Hey Michael,

Grat to hear from you. Yeah, that makes total sense that his is a place you would be spending alot of time. It´s incredible all of the natural beauty and variety of environment all within a relatively short distance. Ecuador is truly extrodinary.


Peace Mechanic