canancolHe takes care of the crops. His size corresponds to the height of the cornfield and he is coated with wax from nine beehives. A witch doctor places the eyes, which are two beans; his teeth are maize and his nails are white beans; he is dressed in “holoch” (corn husks). Each time the witch places one of these elements  on the scarecrow, he calls to the four winds to protect the corn.

The scarecrow is presented to the Sun God and given as an offering to the Rain God. Fragrant herbs and anise are burned, and the sacred fire is kept burning for about an hour. Meanwhile, the witch doctor distributes “balché” to the witnesses, which is a very intoxicating liquor, so that the humans won’t be aware when the gods come down to earth.

The ceremony should take place when the sun is in the middle of the sky. At that hour, the witch doctor makes a wound on the little finger of the owner of the cornfield, then squeezes out nine drops of blood into a hole in the right hand of the scarecrow; this hole reaches to the elbow.

The witch doctor closes the hole in the scarecrow’s hand and in a peremptory voice commands: “Today your life begins. This man (pointing to the owner) is your lord and master. Obedience, scarecrow, obedience … may the gods punish you if you fail. The cornfield is yours. You must punish the intruder and the thief. Here’s your weapon.” At this moment he places a rock in the right hand of the scarecrow.

During the burning and the growth of the cornfield, the scarecrow is covered with guano palm, but when the fruit starts to emerge, he is uncovered.

The people say that if a thief or mischief-maker tries to steal the crops, he is stoned to death. Therefore, in the cornfields where scarecrows stand guard, nothing is ever stolen.

After the harvest, a “hanincol” (meal in the cornfield) is served in honor of the scarecrow. After the ceremony, wax scarecrow is melted and the wax is used to make candles, which are burned in the pagan and Christian altars.

Legend taken from: El Alma de Campeche en la Leyenda Maya, by Elsie Encarnación Medina E.

Contribución: Yurina Fernández Noa
Email: ([email protected])

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