During his present tour of Latin America, VISNEWS cameraman Sepp Riff visited Chichicastenango, probably the most interesting Indian village in Guatemala.
GV Market place with church of Santo Tomas in background
GV Ditto, indians bringing their goods to market
GV Women arriving at market
GV Indians arriving at market
SV Man brings pigs to market
LV Man carrying earthenware pots to market
CU Man takes rest
TV PAN Earthenware pots placed on ground
SCU Mother and child arrive at market
CU PAN Woman selling flowers
SCU Man buys flowers for church
Indian buys corn
SV PAN Man buying flowers
GV Market place and church
SV Group of indians arrive at church carrying religious symbols
SV Indians pray to their mayan gods on steps of church
SV PAN Ditto
SV AND CU Indians burning incense
CU CU Indian women in prayer
SV PAN Group indians during prayer
SV Indians rise and enter church (two shots)
GV Indians entering church
GV INT Indians kneel in aisle of church and pray to their catholic god by lighting candles
GV Indian women and children
SV Indians light candles
CU PAN From candles to man scattering petals
CU Burning candles
CU Man places among burning candles
CU PAN Over indians during prayer
CU Elderly indian in prayer, pan to candles
GVS Two shots during prayer
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Background: During his present tour of Latin America, VISNEWS cameraman Sepp Riff visited Chichicastenango, probably the most interesting Indian village in Guatemala.
It was market day, and the plaza was a melody swollen of colour and incense. The normal population of 3,000 was swollen to more than 20,000 so Indians from some 60 surrounding districts came to town to trade, gossip, and perform their peculiar religious devotions at the beautiful Spanish colonial Church of Santo Tomas.
Of pure Maya-Quiche stock, the Indians retain much of their pre-hispanic culture, and combine the worship of both the Christian God and their pagan deities in the most unique fashion.
Dressed in their colourful regalia, and carrying religious emblems, the Maxenos - Indians of the region - stop on the lower steps of the church to make offerings of copal incense to their non-Christian gods, then climb the steps swinging their censors as the smoke wafts their prayers skywards. Entering the Church, they assume the formalities of their main faith...Roman Catholicism.
Normally, photography within the church is forbidden, but Riff managed to record these unique scenes. As Catholics, the Indians pray before the Crucifix and the altars of the saints, and burn candles on the floor of the church after scattering offerings of rose petals or pine needles. Their voices mingle in a strange cacophony of sound, for the Maxe????o talks with his God in the most familiar terms.