One of the approaches to this community is across a newly constructed bridge over the Laja River. Even though it had been raining recently, the river was completely dry. The bridge is quite high so we surmised that the Laja can be a raging torrent.
Capilla Blanca is part of a group of small communities, all ejidos, on the west side of the Laja River that have become a continuous stretch of fields and dwellings and include the communities of El Lindero, Los Guerrero, La Cuadrillia, El Salto, La Capilla Blanca, Bordo Colorado and Los Barrones. Five of these communities have very old capillas and calvarios and, in each community, there are celebrations throughout the year with deep roots in indigenous (Otomi) traditions. Capilla Blanca (population: 151; dwellings: 30; 1864 meters; 100° 49’ 00” W, 21° 02’ 36” N) was founded in 1850. You can access more information about Capilla Blanca from this government document.
We were surprised when we researched the name of this capilla, El Señor de Chalma, and found it was named after the “black Christ” of Chalma. The date of construction, 1883, is carved under the bell tower.
We wiled away the morning and part of the afternoon happily painting this immaculately maintained capilla in the shade of a mesquite while chatting with the many Mexicans who came to see what we were doing. One man told us there was an unusual calvario nearby named Calvario de la Virgen del Tronquito which means the virgin of the small trunk. Apparently, the image of the virgin appears on the trunk of a mesquite.
As we were driving home on a road through the fields , we noticed on one side the field was being plowed with a tractor and, the other, with two horses (yunta).
© 2016 Lorie Topinka