A special Maya celebration to commemorate the feast Day of patron of San Luis Rey Church was held in San Antonio Village, Toledo. Paul Mahung reports.
“The two day cultural event in addition to religious devotion and live marimba music also highlighted the traditional and colourful Deer dance as explained by San Luis Rey RC Church lead cathechist Pio Coc.”
Pio Coc – Cathechist, San Luis Rey RC Church
“What we do, on the 23rd we prepare to bring the costume because this is a borrowed costume from across the border, Guatemala. We have celebrations, we go out and bring the costume with the incense, we have ladies that do that. We have a vigil and then early the 24th morning the dance starts. We go through the day where the people dance, the deer dance for the whole day and the day finishes at 5:30. What we do we build an alter or a piseda in the church where we put the mask after the dance is finished. The drum, we have a small drum this drum is inches and it is played or it is beaten to inform the people that we have a celebration that is going to happen. It is also beaten so that elders can come together and prepare for the celebration. During the dance, a lot of incense is used, the aroma is so nice; we have a belief that God accepts whatever we offer to him, that is what the incense is used for. This celebration that we do enhances most of what we believe in God. It is not only that we are celebrating this because we want to celebrate, this is also a connection that we have with our Supreme being and the environment around us, the rivers, the forest, the animals and everything that is alive. We bring all of these things together. Some people believe we do superstitious belief but no, it actually works. If we look at the Garifuna tradition, they have the Dugu where they say they speak with their ancestors and it is the same thing that we are doing because we have connection with the cosmos, we have connection with God. Our belief is that if we have a sick, the sick can be cured or we ask for the care of our plants, whatever we plant so that we have food. All of these things we believe that it comes from the Gods that is around us. This event enhances, it is mostly belief that we know that there is someone who is taking care of everything around us.”