© CNRS Images - janvier 2006

Maximon

Reference

1758

Duration

00:28:00

Production year

2006

Original material

Color
Sound

Director(s)

Hervé COLOMBANI

Summary

In Guatemala, a remarkable indigenous cult originating among the Indian community around Lake Atitlan has evolved on the margins of Catholicism. It is dedicated to maximon - half god, half saint - also known as San Simon. The roots of this cult, dating back no more than two hundred years, are entangled in Indian legends and the interaction between Mayan and Catholic traditions.

Maximon manages to embody Saint Michael, Simon peter (in reference to the first apostle), Judas (the identity he assumes during Holy Week), the Mayan god Mam, and even the conquistador Pedro de Alvarado.

The cult of Maximon has experienced a parallel unprecedented growth across the whole country, even in the cities, with local variations in ritual. Examination of the cult immerses us in the chaotic history of a country subjected to Spanish conquest, colonisation and, more recently, a brutal civil war, the influx of evangelical groups and the arrival of mass tourism.

Scientific topics

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