Now the church in San Juan La Chaluma is amazing. Words cannot even describe.
I entered and my legs went weak. I was stunned. It was so powerful. Evergreen needles on the floor, candles, so many candles everywhere (I have never seen so many candles), on tables, on floors, and people praying, doing rituals. It blew me away. I could barely walk.
It's a mix between a Catholic Church and a Mayan church. There are all these (creepy) statues of Jesus and other saints, white faces. The ceiling was painted with Jesus - and various animals, eagles, etc.
San Juan La Chaluma is a Maya city - everyone in the church save a few tourists were Maya. I stuck out in my pink sweater, black skirt, pink leopard print leggings - not to mention my blonde hair. People in the church we wearing traditional garb - the women often in the silk embroidered tops with these black furry skirts, and the men wore black furry tops with pants. People were sometimes by themselves, but usually with other family members.
The people were chanting - unintelligable to me, so not Spanish, I suppose it was Mayan. People were crying, lighting candles, chanting, covering their faces, drinking soda (burping is thought to expel evil), rubbing things against their faces.
Presumably, the most memorable thing (I saw it once, was shocked, and again saw it while I was leaving) were the roosters. This woman near me suddenly pulled a live rooster out of a box. It struggled at first, and then stopped moving. (Later, when she put it down, I realized she had killed it.) She held the bird over the candles (rows and rows of taper candles) and then over and surrounding and touching her daughter's body, chanting. The other daughter sat quietly, braiding leather.
The church had such a powerful energy, it overwhelmed me. I felt it as soon as I entered, my entire being consumed with the power.
*Note, you are not allowed to take photos inside the church. If you do, the tickets warn, you will be "punished." One of the workers at my hostel told me of some guy who tried to take photos anyway - they threw his camera on the floor, smashing it, and threw him out.