Photostory: Celebrating Mayan Culture

In the scenic environment of Grand Park in downtown Los Angeles, beautiful trees and the City Hall building surrounding, a cultural event called Popol Vuh took place on Saturday. Popol Vuh translates to the “Book of the People.” This celebrates creational mythology in the Mayan culture.

Theatre, music, and dance made up the event and were performed by the neighboring Boyle Heights community and members of El Teatro.

Among the audience was Luis Valdez, director of Zootsuit and creator of El Teatro Campesino. This is a project that Valdez says has been in evolution for three or four years. “It started in El Teatro Campesino in San Juan Bautista and then it was brought to Los Angeles… to involve the the people in the community of Boyle Heights,” says Valdez. “It’s about the creation of the world… the Mayan bible. It’s the oldest story of creation in the Americas… the same stories told in different perspective.”

Contrary to the Christian story about the sacrificial lamb, in Mexico is represented by the “Mazorca,” corn god. “The idea of life and death is more like the plants. You plant the seeds and you’re reborn rather than killing animals or sacrificing anything,” he says.

Valdez connects with this event through his Indian blood, like people in attendance, he doesn’t distinguish between indigenous tribes. “We left those wars a long time ago, we’re all one people,” says Valdez.

As Valdez describes in the “heart of heaven” and in the heart of Los Angeles, the latino locals celebrated as one.