In many ancient cultures around the world, the summer solstice is celebrated as a symbol of gratitude to the sun for nourishing crops and giving energy to humanity, as its heat symbolically purifies and transforms us to enjoy health and well-being in its maximum splendor. This ancestral celebration is one of many that are celebrated in Mexico, as it is a people of traditions, cult and ancestral rites. These celebrations are full of symbolism and diversity (forms, colors and styles) that vary according to the geographical area of the country.
In the state of Morelos, Dr. Alejandro Chao Barona (1936-2014) great professor and social fighter, left a great legacy. Having always worked for the most vulnerable groups of people, as well as for the respect and love for the land, having created networks between higher education institutions and communities, having built ties of brotherhood, health, welfare and of community development. He was also a promoter and collaborator of the University Institute for the Elderly in the community, creator and promoter of the “Identity Festivals” in the state of Morelos, these Identity Festivals are offerings of gratitude to water, wind, corn, earth and fire, and where we seek to continue preserving our ancestral traditions which are held year after year.
These traditions could not be skipped in the San Agustín day house, the headquarters of Amigos de los adultos Mayores association, and to which everyone is invited! Some of our older Elder Friends have worked all their lives in the fields, tilling the land that provided them with a home, food, sustenance, experiences and life lessons.
Twice a year, in their company and the volunteers’, we celebrate these identity celebrations. The first party takes place on March 21 with the arrival of spring, celebrating Mother Earth and the other party takes place on June 21 for the summer solstice, celebrating the Sun.
This moment is very important for the oldest of our friends, since it is a symbolic way of thanking everything our beloved mother nature offers us. All the participants arrive early to the house of day San Agustín to initiate the ritual of gratefulness, we all provide diverse elements to prepare the offering for the festivity. The various elements that compose it are flowers (of different colors and forms), seeds and fruits, as well as acoustic objects like bells, small percussions and above all a sea snail to resonate during the ceremony.
The construction of the offering begins by making a large circle in the central courtyard of the house and the older friends suggest or help with the placement of fruits, water, salt, copal, flowers and seeds, whilst everyone settles around the offering forming a circle.
The offering is ready! A circle of dialogue is opened, exchanging experiences with nature and expressing words of gratitude and love. A bond of brotherhood is built with all companions living for the day through thanks to the association Amigos de los Adultos Mayores. Let’s begin the feast! It is a way to transform tiredness, loneliness and abandonment by the greatest power that exist: infinite love, towards oneself and towards others. It is a joy through the words that are exchanged, the smell given to us by the flowers, the brightness of seeds in the sun, the various forms and colors that the fruits give us, the sound of bells and of the snail that when blowing it, fills us with acoustic vibration. Everything comes together this celebration a unique and special moment. After this exchange, breaths and visualizations are made to connect with our own body. Everyone is thanked for their presence at this party and then the offering made of flowers, fruits and seeds is shared by all.
For Amigos de los Adultos Mayores association, these ancestral festivities, of community participation sharing experiences of life, respect, gratitude and love for nature, are very important. They offer our Elder Friends the strengthening of bonds with their environment and with themselves, filling them with peace, tranquility and positive thoughts, for a better autonomy, to socialize in harmony, health and emotional, physical and mental well-being.
Liliana Solís, volunteer of Fundación Macochoa Abrazar A.C. – Amigos de los Adultos Mayores