2021 / People / Culture

Holy Week of Puâaxku Jitsé In Santa Teresa, Mexico

  • Company
    William Frej Photography
  • Photographer
    William Frej

In the remote, indigenous Cora village of Santa Teresa in Mexico’s Sierra del Nayar mountains, the ancient ceremony of Puáaxku jitsé takes place the week before Easter. These photos, taken after receiving permission from village authorities, provide a rare glimpse of complex expressions of pre-Hispanic Mesoamerican spirituality as it has evolved over five centuries. I invite you to experience the processions, the hypnotic music, the dramatic black and white painted men and boys transformed into otherworldly creatures, the mock battles and ancient ritual games, documented here in time present.

I began my career as an architect and later served as an international development specialist, living in Nepal, India, Indonesia, Poland, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan and Mexico. Always with my camera at my side, I have been photographing indigenous people and their environments since the 1970s, documenting the changing lifestyles and architecture of many of the world’s unique and ancient cultures. My photographic work is represented in numerous public and private collections throughout the U.S., Europe and Asia. My new book, a visual journey to remote Maya sites, was published in October 2020.