The ritual of rituals of the Totonaca culture, the culture of joy, has been a worthy experience of one of the most important festivals in Mexico and the world: as every spring “Cumbre Tajín” shone in all its splendor.
“The place of thunder”, Tajin was certified by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site, the architecture that synthesizes the link of the Totonacs with the universal cycles and, especially, the extraordinary Pyramid of The Niches, if I may compare, it´s like a reminiscent of Japanese and Tibetan temples, surrounded by a beautiful jungle environment, where the aromas of exotic plants and abundant tropical vegetation with a touch of vanilla conjugate perfectly reactivating the splendor of this sanctuary.
The Totonacos know that before starting the festivities, a ceremony must be held to obtain the approval of the guardians of the territory. This is how healers, dancers and other members of the community carry out the ancestral rite of the Litlán asking permission and pardon to the deities of the goodness, the well-being and the harmony to carry out the Cumbre Tajin festival and to start the Kaxanama or spring and the beginning of flowering. We are flowers.
Taking as a framework the ceremonial buildings of the Center for the Indigenous Arts (CAI), the values of their culture are promoted and transmitted, overflowing wisdoms are exercised as they are revealed in front of the eyes of those who are involved no longer as witnesses but as actors in the ceremony of life, inspired by an educational model that encourages the skills of the individual according to his gift or star, putting the subject as the epicenter focused on maintaining and disseminating their ancestral and perennial traditions, a wide range of artistic, spiritual, traditional, ecological, ludic and musical activities is displayed to establish a community based on the Totonac vision of sharing the personal gift and understanding happiness as learning from the other.
It was just a matter of walking between the streets of that possible world turning around a sacred flight towards the four holy directions that were interwoven with the ancient ball game but in a very modern version, then a few steps forward the group of juggling and Totonac circus gave some lengths steps on stilts at the height of the trees, below in the shadow of a zapote tree it sounded the traditional Son Jarocho followed by a staging, then a concert for children, far away the fiery romanticism flourished in the rondalla chorus of women, here and there and everywere the culinary delights of the totonacapan were mixed with the music of Café Tacuba, Rubén, the vocalist, sensitized his audience of the serious problem of the Fracking that affects Veracruz and the world, meters later, inside the cotton house, in the hands of grandmothers weavers threw the threads of memory, “we are all remembering,” I told to the flying elder who was preparing to climb to the top of the sacred mast that connects Heaven with the Earth inseminating Her with his dance and playing his flute, “yes,” he said, “we are all remembering the brightness of memory.”
The structure of the Center for Indigenous Arts, which is a traditional settlement comprising 14 school-houses, is worthy of attention. Each of them is specialized in one of the Totonac arts (ceramics, textiles, painting, art of healing, traditional dance, music, theater and cooking) in which the apprentices begin their learning.
The “House of thе Flyers” and the “House of the Elders” are examples of how they acquire the essential values of the Totonac people, as well as an orientation on creative practice. The transmission of knowledge in the Center is integral, holistic and open to all audiences. The houses-schools, which conceive the creative practice as something intrinsically linked to their spiritual nature, aim to achieve the regeneration of the Totonac culture, revitalizing indigenous cultural practices through the use of their mother tongue as a vector of teaching, the recovery of forgotten traditional techniques, artistic production, the reestablishment of the organs of traditional forms of goverment and the reforestation of plants and trees necessary for biocultural practices.
The CAI has been included in the List of Best Practices for the Safeguarding of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity by the United Nations for the Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (PCI, Unesco, 2012), it also promotes continuous cooperation with the creators and cultural organizations of other Mexican states and countries of the entire world in order to size our cosmic stature, share the renewal of joy and take advantage of the historic opportunity restored by indigenous wisdom.
It is the “Totonaca Tree of the Good Fruit”, commented the director of Cumbre Tajin: Solomon Bazbaz Lapidus “paraphrasing the words of Don Juan Simbrón Méndez, who was the moral leader of the Totonaca Supreme Council, held that “Equality among men is important because the world is indigenous and non-indigenous. Must reign respect and love of nature to keep the tree of good fruit”, today the CAI is an example of its teachings and a crystallized dream in which the Totonac wisdom is safeguarded for the next generations”.
Mumta Ito: General Director
Saamdu Chetri: Editorial Director
Dorian Antuna: Founder