As the music blared and the colorful procession swept through the town, there was an air of cheer throughout. The residents were delighted that their very own mayor had proven himself one of them in such a visceral way.
There were reporters and journalists from all over, watching and taking notes. The ritual must have seemed archaic, weird, and even a little crazy to outsiders. However, to the residents here, it was a means of hope and promise of prosperity.
San Pedro Huamelula, Mexico is a small town that still clings to old traditions no matter how modernized the rest of the country becomes. The original inhabitants of the city go back centuries, and the town has a rich history.
Among a catholic influence, the town has an eclectic mix of cultures and is known for its vibrancy. However, there are also drawbacks to living there.
With a population of just over 9700 people, infrastructure and development have not kept pace with larger Mexican towns. The unemployment rate is high, and life is, therefore, hard for many residents here.
While the indigenous people come in many different forms and speak different dialects, poverty is a common factor among them. With over 5000 people estimated to live in extreme poverty here, something had to be done.
When Mayor Victor Hugo Sosa took office, he promised to bring changes and help secure abundance and prosperity for his people. Being a native, Mayor Sosa was well-loved by the town.
However, turning around such a dire situation wouldn’t be easy. Aside from his political work, Mayor Sosa decided to take a radical approach to bring about change.
When Mayor Sosa announced he would perform an ancient ritual to bring abundance and prosperity, the townsfolk were delighted. To them, this was seen as proof of his commitment to the town.
It also showed his constituents that he was indeed one of them regarding customs and beliefs. The ritual was viewed as normal among the natives. However, to outsiders, it is considered strange and even taboo. The reason was that it involved a live alligator.
Alligators were considered deities to people who followed the customs of San Pedro Huamelula. In a metaphorical sense, they were seen as representations of the bridge between humans and the natural world.
The ritual took place amid an extravaganza of color and vibrant celebration, and the entire town was invited to witness it. To most western cultures, it seemed unthinkable that a sitting mayor would consider being a part of such an odd custom.
As word spread about the ritual being performed, excitement grew around the town. The ceremony also attracted news outlets and became quite a spectacle.
The preparations were lavish and beautiful. The star of the ceremony was, of course, the alligator, and one was duly procured and dressed accordingly. However, safety was still a concern.
The alligator itself wasn’t fully grown but could still hurt someone if proper precautions weren’t taken. The Mayor was in good spirits and obliged the townsfolk by partaking in every part of the pre-rituals.
As things came together, a festive mood grew around the town, and people began showing up in numbers to witness it. The big question was whether or not the Mayor would really go through with the actual ceremonial portion of the custom.
Despite the alligator’s small size, precautions still had to be taken. To this end, its mouth was tied shut to ensure it couldn’t bite anyone.
When the day arrived, the Mayor was resplendent and could have been forgiven for feeling nervous. After all, the ritual would require him to get as close to the alligator as possible.
Finally, the big day arrived. After all the planning and preparations, the town was draped in a festival of color and excitement.
The Mayor was resplendent and had kept his promise to the people. Once he arrived, the ceremony could finally begin. So the big question remained, what exactly would he have to do to complete the ritual?
Believe it or not, the ritual was actually a wedding. Not just any wedding, this ceremony was held to form a union between man and nature.
Incredibly, the ritual was effectively a wedding ceremony between the Mayor and the alligator. This wasn’t all. To complete the ritual, the mayor would need to perform one more strange task.
Despite its rare traditional routes, the alligator wedding ceremony now featured customs of catholicism too. To complete the “wedding”, the Mayor was, therefore, required to kiss his bride.
Among all the fanfare, when the joyous moment came, Mayor Sosa sent the crowds into rapture when he duly obliged. Not just once, Sosa showed his commitment by kissing his alligator bride multiple times.
Given the strong beliefs and customs of his constituents, Mayor Sosa actually performed an essential duty by following through with the wedding. Seen as a bridge between people and nature, the union with the alligator was a symbolic kind of prayer.
By completing it, the Mayor appealed to the deities of nature to provide his people bountiful sustenance, prosperity, and economic growth.
By planting a kiss on the alligator’s snout, Mayor Sosa took part in an ancient custom dating back to the region’s pre-Hispanic times.
His appeal was simple, “We ask nature for enough rain, for enough food, that we have fish in the river.” While many outsiders may find the ritual odd, others have praised Sosa for it.
Only time will tell if Mayor Sosa’s actions prove fruitful. Regardless, he has endeared himself to his town’s people by simply being open to doing it.
With so much shameless politicking worldwide, many see his actions as a breath of fresh air. By showing his humility and willingness to engage with his people in such a unique way, Mayor Sosa has proven to be one of the most dedicated Mayors around.