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On Wednesday, members of the FUNDAHMER team visited the community Tablón in Cacaopera, Morazán and witnessed a Mayan-Christian ritual of gratitude. The community gathered to ceremonially give thanks for the return of their primary water source. Their well had been dry, but came back to life after Nana Irma, an indigenous leader, celebrated a traditional Mayan ceremony there.
For the thanksgiving ceremony, Irma prepared a central circular altar with jocote wood, incense, tobacco, beeswax, rosemary, and candles representing each of the four elements (fire, earth, water, and air). This main altar was surrounded by four smaller altars corresponding to the four cardinal directions, each adorned with candles in the color of that direction–white, black, yellow, or red. The community placed offerings, such as tamales, on each of the altars to express their gratitude for the blessing of water. Irma lit a fire in the central altar, and said prayers in her indigenous language as well as Spanish. As these prayers were offered, Irma cast cocoa beans (which used to serve as Mayan currency) into the fire as thanksgiving offerings.
It was beautiful to celebrate the community’s spirituality and connection to the land that sustains them through this ancient and sacred ceremony.