Archive for the 'mexiko' Category


The sacred transformation of coca-cola


Why is Coca-Cola in a rural village of Mexico perceived as a holy beverage by its inhabitants? How can religion become secular? And how can sacred things turn profane? How is the mutual relationship of society and religion? Is religion a “sigh of the opressed creature” as Marx said it or a personal motivation as Geertz suggests? What, after all, is religion? These an similar questions are explored in the following essay:

The “Los Altos” Highlands around San Cristóbal, the capital of the southeast Mexican state Chiapas, are inhabited by around 80.000 Tzotziles, who are direct descendants of the Classic Maya Civilization and live in around hundred villages around the mountains. San Juan Chamula, a more wealthy community with around 400 inhabitants is the political and religious centre of the Tzotzil highlands. The religion of the Tzotzils is highly syncretic. Being officially catholic Christians, as the majority of the mexican population, they merged Christ and the Sun into the figure of Our Father, the Sun/Christ, and merged the Virgin Mary, the Moon, and the Earth into a single female entity, Our Mother, the Earth-Moon/Virgin. Catholic saints, imbued with Maya characteristics, are viewed as helpers of the Sun and the Moon.

Located in the centre of San Juan Chamula, the 484-year-old church is frequently visited by a lot of Tzotzil people from all over the highlands, as well as tourist. The latter are convinced by local agencies that a visit to the Chamula church is by any means an adventure. The church of Chamula offers its visitors no banks. Instead the floor is covered with hay, pine needles, flowers and hundreds of thin candles. In front of the walls are the statues of several pale catholic saints positioned. According to a Tzotzil member, who I spoke to, the real Mayan gods are hidden inside the catholic statues who are hollow. During colonialism, when the Tzotzil were forced to convert to Catholizism, this was how they kept on living their own religious traditions: While they were
officially praying to the catholic saints, they in fact prayed to their Mayan Gods.
The smell of resin, incense and paraffin is lingering through the air. Next to the Tzotzil who sit on the floor uttering prayings in their mother-tongue, the visitor is irritated by the presence of three things: running chickens, a reasonable amount of pox, a traditional sugarcane liquor, Coca Cola and Pepsi batteries and a lot of people burping. Chickens are sacrificed in the church. In case of illness,
for example, the supernatural forces who are responsible for the illness are supposed to pass over the chicken. Later the animal is wrapped into a plastic bag and buried. Pox is a sacred beverage and drunk while praying in order to get in touch with devine powers. The precondition of the encounter between the humans and the devine is purity of body and mind which is achieved by first drinking pox and then Coca Cola or Pepsi. Both beverages, the alcohol and the soda irritate the stomach which induces the consumers to burp. Consumers are little children as well as adults. Burping in this case is understood as the obligated cleansing and expulsion of the spirits who leave the body and release the evil from the soul. Because drinking serves a higher purpose and is therefore valued throughout society, drunken people in public, are quite common.

Read the full essay: the sacred transformation of coca cola


Rodrigo y Gabriela



So far, classical guitars are associated with virtuos melodies. If you hear Rodrigo y Gabriela your notion of classic guitars might be extended since they use guitars mainly for fast and even percussive rhythms. Check it out on

Don’t close the site when the first part of the concert is finished, it will continue…

The guitarists Rodrigo and Gabriela are living in Dublin. The duo met in Mexico City while playing in a thrash metal band called “Tierra Acida”. Growing frustrated with the limited scope of the domestic music scene, they moved to Dublin, Ireland after hearing the city was particularly welcoming to travelling musicians. Playing live gigs in various pubs and busking on Grafton Street and Temple Bar allowed them to practice their sound. In 2005 they toured extensively in festivals around the United Kingdom and beyond.

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