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  • ECM - UK

Chikon, the protector of the Mazateca

The Chikon (owner of the land, lord of the Mazatecs), an emblematic character of Oaxaca, emerges from the depths of local mythology to become the owner and protector of the majestic mountains that dominate the landscape of the municipality of Huautla de Jiménez, cultural epicenter of the Mazatec region.

In Huautla, the most important Chikon is the Chikon Nindo Tokosho (“the güero owner of the hill of worship”). The güero (a term used in Mexico to call people with light skin) is represented as a rider with light skin and blonde hair, mounted on an imposing white horse; attributes that distinguish it and give it a unique aura in the Mazatec tradition.

Chikon Nangui or Chikon Tokosho lives inside the Mazatec hills. His way of life emulates the characteristics of peasant life: he surrounds himself with fields planted with corn and coffee, forests, pastures and cattle, and even the people who he takes with him.

Some locals explain that this character is like a king who rules in the mountains, who shepherds the wild animals, which he cares for and maintains as if they were his livestock.

A symbol of prosperity

It is believed that Chikon grants fertility to the soil and blesses the land with abundance and prosperity. Some rituals are related to the chikons and are related to the calendar of agricultural activities. Before preparing the land for planting, offerings are made to request permission from these supernatural owners, in order to prevent incurring a transgression that could affect the productivity of the soil. The time of harvest is also the occasion for a ritual of gratitude to the Chikon.

The history of the Chikon is intertwined with the daily life of Huautla de Jiménez, where agriculture and livestock are fundamental. Oral tradition transmits the importance of honouring the Chikon, whose figure becomes a revered guardian, ensuring the spiritual connection between the community and the land they cultivate.

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