MAZAHUA CULTURE. InHabiting from time immemorial, the small mountain ranges of the northwestern region and the Western center of the State of México;
The Mazahua Culture, is one of the many that saw cracked their traditions following the conquest;
In this way, many of its manifestations ideographic, pictorial and partially phonetic;
They were destroyed, leaving the present historians with many conjectures about it.
However, the discovery of the Mazahua Ceremonial Center and some codices, together with the knowledge of countless customs;
which were transmitted orally for generations, have given clues of an ethnically detained in time;
Invisible to the hustle and bustle of modern urban society.
Where the name of the Mazahua culture comes From.
The Mazahua culture, according to its two linguistic varieties, is named after the term, Jñatjo or Jñatrjo, which refers to people who only speak the original language.
In this sense, this word not only denotes a way to differentiate itself from other ethnicities;
Even of the mestizo or Spanish-speaking population;
It expresses ethnic identity and the sense of belonging to the Community of origin.
The word Mazahua comes both from the noun Nahuatl mázatl, which means deer, as of the suffix UA, which indicates possession, (the people of the deer).
However, this phrase was used by the Aztecs in a pejorative way to point to their neighbors.
Similarly, the word Mazahua can come from the ancient mythical name Mazacóatl or Lord Serpent deer;
Representing a large snake with horns, whose presence was significant in the socio-cultural life of this ethnic group.
At the end of the day, any of the above denominations are linked to the form of the Mazahua culture;
They carried out their economic activities, carrying their clothes, likewise;
Taking into account that the deer belonged to the biodiversity of the forests that surrounded them.
Brief Historical Review of the Mazahua culture.
Within Mexican History, the Mazahua culture has constituted a mystery for researchers, given the few existing data about its initial times.
In this regard, the first indigenous populations were established in the eastern part of Michoacán, approximately in the 6TH century.
The subsequent arrival of the Mazahua along with the Matlatzincas and Ocuiltecas to the Toluca Valley was recorded by the Chichimecas.
According to this, the supposition arose that it was one of the five Chichimecas tribes headed by the chief Mazahuatl; That migrated, during the centuries VI to XIII, to the central Mexican region.
With the construction of some villages in San Felipe del Progreso;
The diffusion of the Mazahua culture began, who formed a triarquía along with the Matlatzincas and the Tlahuicas.
Later, this group was conquered by Xolotl, chief of the Chichimecas, and subsequently, subjected to the Triple Alliance Azteca;
Being a tributary town until the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors.
Thus, with the arrival of Gonzalo de Sandoval to the Mazahua territory, in 1521, this ethnic group joined the conquest to fight the Mexica.
In spite of this, once the mighty Aztec Empire was defeated, the Virreyes distributed the territory, founding several settlements;
It Was built San Felipe Ixtlahuaca, in the year 1522 and years later,;
The republics of Ixtlahuaca and San Felipe were established in 1711.
In Addition, the installation of looms and large landowners made this region;
One of the most valued from the colony to the independence of Mexico, when it was elevated to the category of villa, passing to call San Felipe del Progreso.
What is the social organization of the Mazahua?
Within The Mazahua culture, the nuclear familiar appears as the fundamental basis of the social organization;
Each member of the family has well defined responsibilities according to their sex, age and the place they occupy in their kindred.
The mother is in charge of preparing the food, washing the clothes and cleaning the home, while the father as the maximum family authority, is dedicated to the agricultural work.
Also, the historical role of the hardened women Mazahua was decisive in the Independence of Mexico;
With his participation in the Battle of Mount of Crosses, and then, in the armed revolution of 1910;
In contrast to their characteristics of being delivered to the home and with an immense religious faith.
Complementarily, in the Mazahua culture, community activities are carried out called tasks;
These consist of the participation of all the members of the community for the realization of work of collective benefit;
Like the construction of schools, markets, roads, among others.
Also in this society stand out the characters related to religious practices, called butlers, prosecutors and Topiles;
Those who are independent of the political organization, are chosen according to the ancestral traditions for the organization of the rituals, festivities and tasks.
They Have their political leaders derived from the Mexican Constitutional Council, which represent the interests of the Community before the various entities of the State.
It Should be noted that in the Mazahua culture there is an important respect for the elderly, as well as for the veneration of their dead;
By virtue of this, visiting the graves and remembering the deceased, avoids the punishment of both the forces of the afterlife, and the community itself.
The economic activities of the Mazahua culture.
Historically, the Mazahua culture stands out for its skills as producers of handicrafts and textiles.
Likewise, agriculture is very developed, excelling among the various crops.
Fruit trees, potatoes, beans, maguey, corn and pumpkin. As Well as the breeding of poultry, goats and sheep.
If there is something notorious in this economic activity, it is the tenure of the land, which takes on characteristics of ejidal, private and communal.
In other words, private property is reduced to a family possessing several terrestrial properties within communal land, evenly distributed among children;
On the other hand, the Ejidal lands are the product of lands confiscated by the state and granted to the indigenous people for their production.
What are the beliefs of the Mazahua culture?
Under a religious syncretism between Catholic beliefs and ancient indigenous dogmas strongly related to life and nature;
The Mazahua culture is based on the Christian calendar to celebrate different native festivities during the year;
In such a way, that each community possesses a patron saint, being the most common San Isidro Labrador.
However, within this religious cult are the family oratories, located near the houses; They are small rooms painted white;
They have an altar inside, full of images of saints to protect them from all evil.
With Regard to this, the Mazahua consider that each person possesses a material soul and another spirit;
They assume the existence of good diseases sent by God, such as diarrhea, pneumonia, bronchitis or tonsillitis;
Meanwhile, bad conditions are bad air, evil eye and fright, provoked by the perversity of someone or supernatural causes.
Also, they think that evil and good live within the funerary pantheons, thus, during the Day of the Dead evil comes out;
It causes all kinds of disasters, therefore, to avoid any damage to their deceased, they place sculptures on the graves.
Important religious festivities of the Mazahua culture.
Among The main religious commemorations of the Mazahua culture, there are the following:
Day of the Dead.
A ceremony that takes place between October 31 and November 2, as a way of remembering the souls of their ancestors.
Consequently, during this celebration the preferred food is offered in life by the deceased;
Accompanied by drinks such as pulque or beer, and other foods such as bread, candies or fruits.
In the same way, the altars are adorned with flowers, paper clippings and embroidered fabrics with Mazahua symbols.
Every 19th of March this ritual is carried out to commemorate the arrival of spring, in this way, around a bonfire that symbolizes the four cardinal points;
The attendants perform a circle to bless the Fire and the gods with prayers guided by a supreme Chief Mazahua.
Offering to the Water.
It Is carried out every August 15, near the rivers or lakes with dances and offerings, being the only purpose to thank the God of water for its benefits on agriculture.
A ceremonial act taking place on the date of Corpus Christi, to ensure the abundant harvest of maize;
Its main attraction are the elaborate costumes that the dancers wear, which weigh up to 55 kilos.
Finally, in spite of the fact that many inhabitants of the Mazahua culture have had to abandon their habitual spaces nowadays;
In search of a better sustenance, they continue to make these traditions as an honor and respect to their commitments with their original community.