The Nahuat community has a population that is divided into different geographical areas of Mexico. Each Nahua community has differences in social behaviour, dress and traditions. That is why we will describe the communities that live in the Sierra Norte de Puebla, where the Mazatzin Textiles collective comes from.
Nahua Community Sierra Norte de Puebla
For the Nahua community of the Sierra, language, particularly Nahuatl or Mexican, is one of the important elements linked to its identity. The identity of the local community is the first reference for distinguishing groups living in other communities. In this rural region, the oral tradition predominates and, through it, the memory of the population is preserved to support its identity.
The Nahua community lives in the northern part of the Sierra de Puebla in these municipalities: Huauchinango, Xicotepec, Pahuatlán, Zacatlán, Chignahuapan, Tetela de Ocampo, Zacapoaxtla, Cuetzalan del Progreso, Teziutlán, Zaragoza, Zihuateutla and Tlatlauquec.
In addition to living with Métis groups residing in government centres, Aboriginal peoples in their communities struggle to maintain their traditions. They have to deal with teachers, priests, merchants, government officials, doctors, who arrive with the idea of showing the indigenous peoples what "modernity" looks like. This inequality encouraged the indigenous peoples to form ethnic organizations in order to claim their IDENTITY, supported by the defense of their indigenous rights, and to preserve their historical memory through the collection of myths and stories in Nahuatl.
The Cosmogony of the Nahuas of Cuetzalan: the world in which man's existence develops, with all that surrounds it, is called cemanahuac, which literally means "that which is surrounded by waters", a term which is associated with two others: talticpac: "on the edge of the earth", and talmanic: "on the flat earth that extends". Therefore, the dominant idea among the Nahuas is that the cosmos is a flat, finite surface, above and below which are the other two planes: the sky, ilhuicac, and the underworld, talocan.
This notion is also represented in the domestic space where the domestic stove: the comal is considered as the surface of the earth, on which the sky lies. The fire that cooks the food, represents the underworld and metaphorically refers to the space where the night sun makes its daily journey. Thus this "sun", which transforms food so that man can feed himself, has its equivalent the day sun, because thanks to its heat, generated by the sun's rays, it promotes the growth and maturation of corn plants so that man can feed himself. For their part, the three stones that support the comal, called tenamaztle, represent the posts that support the world.
They consider their environment as a living space in which humans, animals and plants cohabit, as well as a diversity of extra-human entities (deities, but also supernatural beings).
Each community has a patron saint whom it celebrates. Therefore, the patronal feast expresses the uniqueness of the community culture, as it is structured on the basis of local "custom" and tradition. In the region there is a system of feasts structured around the patron saint and the main celebrations of the Catholic liturgical calendar.
These feasts mark the different eras and the beginning of a new cycle, such as Easter. Because of their link with agricultural cycles, festivals extend beyond Christian spaces and beyond the liturgical seasons. Moreover, the festivals represent an instrument of social cohesion, based on a common objective: the celebration of stewardship. During these festivals, music and dance cannot be absent: dance is a means of expression, because through it, the dancers' relationship with the environment is expressed. Dance is part of a ritual that involves other actions, as well as being charged with symbolic meaning.
The most important traditional dances of the region are: "los Santiagueros", "Negritos", "Toreadores", "Acatlaxquis", "Voladores", "Segadores", "Tejoneros" and "Cuezalime" or "Quetzales".
Finally, an important tradition within the community, as it defines and perpetuates its identity, is textile weaving. Clothing for Aboriginal groups is also a means of cultural expression. It is a means of emphasizing membership in a group and, in some communities, it is distinctive of the wearer's rank and status. The designs express a symbolism that refers to the worldview. Women's clothing, which is the most widespread, is made up of colours that vary according to each community. This garment is made of wool and cotton. The belt is made on a loom whose design and colours identify each community. The embroidered blouse and quexquemitl / huipil, as it is called in the Cuetzalan region, complete the traditional clothing worn by the women along with the shawl.
The collective Mazatzin Textiles is from the city of Cuetzalan del Progreso in the state of Puebla, you will find their pieces in the solidarity shop.