Secure Paypal
Help defer cost of documentation

Nahua of Tlaquilpa, Veracruz
Info en espanil de municipio de Tlaquilpa pdf

Tlaquilpa, Veracruz Mexico - The name of the municipality comes from the Nahuatl and means "Place of the Masons". The location is High Mountain with temperature averaging 12 degrees C and 240 inches of rain a year. The principal resource is wood and subsistence farming. Many men migrate to the US to work since there is little industry and pay is very low here.

Many women continue to wear traditional costume, which consist of a blouse with a large rounded lace collar or bib , a black wrap skirt which can be of wool or wool blend. The skirt was a stripped wool wrap skirt, but the cost of making these garments and the lose of weaving skill has replaced it with commercial materials.

There is a handicrafts union in the town sponsored by a Mexican government agency call SEDESOL(2007). Individual continue to spin and weave woolen garments on back strap looms but the numbers have been declining.

The new paved road (2005) is in good shape and Tlaquilpa can be reached by driving through Tequila on the road from Orizaba. There are numerous unmark roads from other communities into this municipality.

Traditional healing is alive and well in the Sierra and there is an active group of curanderos that live in each community. These curanderos (healers) use herbs or a type of indigenous chiropractic healing (hueseros) and spiritual healings. I was able to go with these healers to a traditional ceremony performed in many parts of the Zongolica called Xochitlali. Xochitlali is a ceremony which any one can perform to ask forgiveness of mother earth for any harm caused by last years planning cycle and to ask of permission and blessing on the next agricultural cycle. This ceremony was held in a cave where the healers danced and then set up a small alter and prayed in Nahuatl and Spanish.

Nahua of the Sierra Zongolica – The Sierra Zongolica is located in the Grand Mountain part of the central region of the State of Vera Cruz. The Zongolica is divided in to two zones the hot zone and the cold zone, these divisions are based on altitude more than any thing else and the costumes are distinct in the two regions.

In the cold zone the costume is a black wool wrap skirt, a lace blouse, hand woven belt, a sweater and a reboso. The men wear a muslin pants and shirt with a wool poncho depending on the resource of the person they may or may not wear sandals. In the hot zone it is all white muslin blouse and skirt with pleats on the sleeves and in some cases a light machine embroidery. The men’s costume is the same in both regions. In the hot area the costume is disappearing fast. The few villages shown in these galleries were far removed and only a few elderly women still wore traditional clothing.

The Sierra Zongolica is inhabited by Nahua speakers who are descendent from the Nonoalco peoples. There are 14 municipalities that form this region of the State of Vera Cruz, part of the Zongolica are in the State of Puebla and are not treated here ( see Nahua of Puebla ( Tehuacan) . As mentioned earlier the peoples of this region have strong ties to the Nahua culture and due to their isolation most (90%) speak Nahuatl as their first language and even n the language of commerce.

Crafts in the region include the weaving of wool and cotton clothing, and the weaving palm items for daily use, clay is used to make all the daily plates and of course a comal where tortilla are cooked.

The road building in the region will help open it up, I am really not sure how it will help the individual subsistence farmer. But at least they will be able to leave the area faster. To get into the Sierra Zongolica you can enter from the town of Orizaba located at the foot of the largest volcano in Mexico. On your map follow the freeway from Puebla toward Veracruz and exit at Orizaba.