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Dec 10, 2019

El Festival Del Pueblo in San Lazaro, Orange Walk

El Festival Del Pueblo or the people’s festival has gained momentum since it started eight years ago in San Lazaro, Orange Walk. It is the brainchild of Hugo Carrillo, a resident, who has been working towards the preservation of the Maya/Mestizo culture, including the history of his village, San Lazaro. Cultural leaders and groups from other villages in the district shared in the celebration of traditional music, dance and even spirituality. Dalila Ical and Duane Moody file this report.


Duane Moody, Reporting

El Festival Del Pueblo sees young and old come together in celebration of culture and history.  Dancers, musicians, researchers, and leaders, all working towards the preservation of the Maya /Mestizo culture gathered at Hugo Carrillo’s back yard in San Lazaro Village. A direct descendant of the first settlers of San Lazaro village, Carrillo has been working over eight years to promote the Maya/Mestizo and the history of the first settlers in Orange Walk South. As part of his efforts, he organizes the festival which showcases the Maya Mestizo music, dances, attire and even spirituality. But he has achieved more.


Hugo Carrillo

Hugo Carrillo, Organizer 

“We saw that there is a need, there was a big cry to, not only to rescue this beautiful culture but to promote it in a different way,  so our idea is to have it in a different way. So our idea is to have a stenographic museum. People can come, they can interact, they can share, they can experience. Two, our goal right now is one main specific goal. At this point we are going to adopt a high school and we are going to share with them art, culture, research. Besides that we will be visiting the different primary schools and we will be giving them about our Maya culture.”


His efforts have caught the attention of the National Institute of Culture and History and even that of Mundo Maya.  But Carrillo has been only one of the few leaders labouring to preserve and promote the Maya Mestizo heritage. Those attending and taking part in the Festival have also been doing work over many years within the northern community.  Their efforts are now being collectively showcased at the Festival which is held in Carrillo’s backyard. But there have been other key partners, the elder residents who have contributed with information or items that display the communities’ rich history.


Hugo Carrillo

“I really appreciate how the people have been helping us in maintaining, for example, the Metate. People give us different things for example, we have pictures dated in 1840, the eighteen hundreds. The first people. We have elders who have departed. They gave us history of how Orange Walk South came about as a consequence of the social war, La Guerra de Castes. So, all this information will be showcased in a way that will be very educational.”


With the local and international recognition they now receive, Carrillo says the work is expanding. They have received assistance to build the museum, film two documentaries, conduct workshops. Their work is also looking to be a tourist attraction since the village is located along the way to Lamania Mayan site. It’s something Carrillo says he did not expect.


Hugo Carrillo

“None at all, but I’m very optimistic and I like to really, I love my culture.”


On Sunday, a few representatives of organizations interested in helping to promote the work were in attendance. Nigel Encalada was present.


Nigel Encalada

Nigel Encalada, Director, Institute for Social & Cultural Research, NICH

“It’s an initiative that the National Institute for Culture and History has endorsed. A few years ago we had a training for persons who were sort of leaders, cultural leaders across the country and there was a training in what is called intangible cultural heritage, the revival of, the safe guarding of the cultural heritage of the country. So, Hugo who already had the interest with his family, his mother, father and broader family and with the support of other people like Mrs. Felicita Cantun, Mrs. Magaña from San Joaquin, they were able to come together to form the Northern Association of the Maya Mestizo people. Since that time, since 2014, we have been contributing in technical training, even some financial support for the revival of the Maya/Mestizo culture.”


This year’s Festival was celebrating the woman, or Ixchel. Duane Moody for News Five.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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